A key feature of Henry Mitchellbs study is the way it limits the influence of Whites on the unfolding Black Church. By doing so, it contradicts the popular misconception that the Black Church of today is still built on a faith taught to slaves to make them work harder than before. The first African American churches didnbt just organize; they labored hard, long, and sacrificially to form a meaningful, independent faith. Mitchell insightfully takes readers inside this process of development, exploring such internal challenges as class structure, the struggle to find adequate pastors for local congregations, and new obstacles posed by emerging denominationalism.
Original in its subject matter and expert in its analysis, "Black Church Beginnings" makes a major contribution to the study of American church history.