By Jim Haskins, Kathleen Benson
BLACK STARSMeet the black non secular leaders who helpedshape the African American experience--from colonial to fashionable occasions* Absalom Jones* Richard Allen* Jarena Lee* Lemuel Haynes* Peter Williams Sr.* Peter Williams Jr.* John Marrant* Denmark Vesey* Sojourner fact* Nat Turner* Maria Stewart* John Jasper* Alexander Crummell* Henry Highland Garnett* Henry McNeal Turner* Richard Henry Boyd* Bishop C. M. "Sweet Daddy" Grace* Vernon Johns* Elijah Muhammad* Howard Thurman* Adam Clayton Powell Jr.* Joseph E. Lowery* Malcolm X* Martin Luther King Jr.* Andrew J. younger* James L. Bevel* John Lewis* Prathia corridor Wynn* Jesse L. Jackson* Vashti Murphy McKenzie* Fredrick J. Streets* Al Sharpton* Renita J. Weems* T. D. Jakes
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The black residents of Charleston formed their own AME Church, and in 1817, Denmark Vesey left the Presbyterian Church to join them. They didn’t have money to buy or build a church structure, so they held services in their homes. Vesey became a lay preacher, or “class leader,” presiding over services for small groups in his home. The white residents of Charleston did not like the idea of a black church at all and made every effort to disrupt its services and arrest its leaders. Vesey became increasingly angry at this interference.
Former slaves suddenly were without the protection of their former masters. The entire economy of the South had to be reorganized. The city of Richmond to which the Reverend John Jasper returned was in shambles—its buildings destroyed, its businesses closed, its population scattered. He worked on the streets, cleaning bricks, and he discovered that the usual places for church meetings were gone. Meetings had taken place in the homes of slave owners. Now that there were no slave owners, there were no meeting places.
They thought they could quiet him. But Jasper would not be cowed. In fact, he questioned the faith of the educated, well-spoken black preachers. Ebenezer Baptist Church called a conference to discuss the issue and summoned Jasper to attend. He refused, saying that the church had no right to interfere. Letters and articles appeared in local papers and in periodicals as far away as Europe. Jasper undertook speaking tours to northern cities, all based on that one sermon. He was so steadfast in his conviction that eventually even those who criticized him came to respect his utter belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible.