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Explain how religion facilitates self expression in the experience of Africans in the Americas?


Especially during slavery, very few forms of self-expression were open to Africans in the Americas.  Those who owned slaves in these societies were typically very worried about the possibility of slave rebellions.  They were also concerned with anything that might possibly encourage disobedience among slaves.

However, they (at least in the US) came to think that Christianity would be a good influence on the slaves.  Therefore they allowed them to engage in religious activity.  This gave slaves permission to express themselves religiously.  An example of this is the famous "Negro spiritual" genre of music in the US.  This type of song often had a hidden meaning within its religious themes.

After slavery, more forms of self-expression were allowed, but religion still had a privileged place because it was more acceptable to whites and because the black churches had a prominent place in society.

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