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Secular, Scarred and Sacred

Education and Religion Among the Black Community in Nineteenth-Century Canada

Jerome Teelucksingh

Secular, Scarred and Sacred: Education and Religion Among the Black Community in Nineteenth-Century Canada focuses on the paternal yet exclusionary role of Protestant Whites and their churches among refugee slaves and free Blacks in nineteenth-century Upper Canada—many of whom had migrated to Canada to escape the dreaded system of slavery in the United States. This book contends that White Protestant churches provided organizational, social and theological models among Black communities in Canada. Author Jerome Teelucksingh further explores how Black migrants seized the educational opportunities offered by churches and schools to both advance academically and pursue an ideal of virtuous citizenship that equipped them for new social challenges.

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Chapter 4: Emergence of Black Leadership


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Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so than in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (Titus 2: 9–10)

Those who undertook the dangerous journey northward to Canada were neither heathens nor pagans. Additionally, there is no evidence that these Blacks were agnostics or atheists. Most of the Blacks initially belonged to the Protestant faith, particularly the Methodist and Baptist denominations. Earnest Bell believed that the Black preacher has been the spokesperson for United States Blacks. He contended that the messages of the Black preacher, which were absorbed by slaves and Whites, led to socio-political reforms.1 Undoubtedly, the influence of the Black preacher extended beyond the pulpit.

In a study of Essex County, in Canada West, from 1850 to 1860 it was discovered that most of the Black people were devout and guided by ministers of the Sunday schools and churches.2 During the process of integration and assimilation into Canadian society, leaders arose within the Black community who guided, provided inspiration and direction to their people. Indeed, it seemed that Blacks “…wanted preachers who spoke to them in a language and perhaps with an accent they might readily understand.”3 The nature of Black ← 55 | 56 → leadership...

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