On Black Religion

Black Religion is the core position of the Black American spiritual enterprise.  
— Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim

“The Blackamerican Muslim today has lost control of the definition of Islam to Immigrant Islam in the United States, not because immigrant Muslims and their descendants practice a “purer” Islam but because of…. (a) weaknesses in Black Religion*. ....   Immigrant Islam, by devaluing “the West”, prevents Blackamerican Muslims from contributing positively to Blackamerican's struggle against white supremacy. The psychological dislocation of abandoning their own selves in exchange for a foreign identity-based Islam leaves Blackamerican Muslims ineffective in both the secular and religious spheres.”   ayman fadel

 Black Religion in this regard is the God centered-protest of and  opposition to white supremacy that began the moment the first African landed on these shores in bondage. No movement in America among black people has ever been successful without paying proper respect to Black Religion.  Islam in Black America begins as part of a communal search for tools with which to combat racism and redefine American blackness.   Sherman Jackson, Ph.D  

“I take it that if the phrase Black religion is to have any descriptive usefulness at all, it must signify something more than Black Americans who are religious. African Americans practice a number of different religions. There are black people who are Buddhist, Jehovah Witness, Mormon and Baha'i. But the fact that African Americans practice these traditions does not lead us to describe them as black Buddhism or black Mormonism. Black religion singles out something more substantive than that.

The adjective refers instead to a racial context within which religious meanings have been produced and reproduced. The history of slavery and racial discrimination in the United States birthed particular religious formations among African Americans. African Americans converted to Christianity, for example, in the context of slavery. Many left predominantly white denominations to form their own in pursuit of a sense of self- determination. Some embraced a distinctive interpretation of Islam to make sense of their condition in the United States. Given that history, we can reasonably describe certain variants of Christianity and Islam as African American ( or Black ) and mean something beyond the rather uninteresting claim that black individuals belong to these different religious traditions.” Eddie Glaude, Ph.D, Princeton Univ.

 No religious expression that fails to tackle the problem of black suffering can hope to enjoy a durable tenure in the black community.
— Sherman Jackson

“They ( Blackamericans )  are both repelled by the American experience, by virtue of their history as a marginalized minority, and attracted to it, by the virtue of their connection to a uniquely rich BlackAmerican historical and cultural tradition. Their search for a bona fide Muslim identity is still in its exploratory stage…..  Whatever this Afro-American-Muslim identity turns out to be as a final product, if it is to be life-affirming as opposed to a paralyzing agent, it will have to embrace, rather than ignore the reality and history of African-Americans, just as effectively as it fortifies for them the boundaries between Islam and non-Islam.”  Sherman A. Jackson


A Black-Christians's explanation of Black Religion (click here)