Interracial Sects Religion, Race, and Gender Among Early North Carolina Moravians

Jon F. Sensbach

in The Devil's Lane

Published in print June 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112436
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854271 | DOI:
Interracial Sects Religion, Race, and Gender Among Early North Carolina Moravians

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This chapter explores the story of Anna Maria Samuel, an African-American girl from Bethabara, North Carolina. She was immersed in a church (Morovian church) culture that exalted female spirituality and rigorously protected, even policed, white and black women's persons and sexuality. Her life dramatizes some of the complexities creeping into southern life on a broader scale in the late 18th century. This demonstrates a time when black women were forming ties of spiritual kinship with white women; they were sheltered under the umbrella of the Gospel from the depredations of white masters; and white people hailed their spirituality as equal to their own. It appears that white women also came to resent the threat of spiritual parity with black women at the expense of their own social and religious stature. With fragile alliances crumbling, the South was launched on a frightening new day of resurrected racial and gender barriers.

Keywords: religion; race; gender; North Carolina; Morovian church; Christianity; Gospel; spirituality; Anna Maria Samuel

Chapter.  6846 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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