Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2017 Volume 13 :: Article 4
2017 Volume 13, Article 4
"Today Is the Day of Salvation": Martin R. Delany’s Struggles Against Providential Determinism in Early Nineteenth Century Black Abolitionism

Author: Tunde Adeleke (Iowa State University)

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Several scholars have acknowledged the otherworldly character of black religion in America. From its inception in the late 18th century, the black church had preached a providential theology that aspired for a better and compensatory world to come. This theology provoked conflict with the bourgeoning black abolitionist movement of the early 19th century. The disagreement centered on the adoption of moral suasion as abolitionist philosophy. The early phase of Martin Delany’s abolitionist career was the theater of this conflict. Delany publicly challenged the leading black churches on the problematic nature of otherworldly theology. He proposed a secular approach that emphasized human agency instead.

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