Did Kongolese catholicism lead to slave revolutions?


The legacy of Kimpa Vita, a Kongolese Catholic mystic, was felt from the U.S. to Haiti

News, Februari 26th 2019, source: daily.jstor.org, by Mohammed Elnaiem
Watercolor illustration of Kimpa Vita by Father Bernardo da Gallo, 1710[1]

In 1966, Stokely Carmichael, a leader in the student non-violent coordinating committee, arrived at Berkeley calling for black power for black people.

“The missionaries came with the Bible, and we had the land. When they left, they had the land, and we still have the Bible,” Carmichael declared with a snark characteristic of his charisma.

Three years later, in 1969, James Forman, a contemporary of Stokely Carmichael in the student civil rights movement, declared in his black manifesto that African Americans

“were not Christians when we were brought to this country, but that Christianity was used to enslave us.”

Neither was entirely correct, but neither can be entirely dismissed. In truth, some African Americans were Christians when they arrived as slaves on the shores of North America. They were former subjects of the Christian Kingdom of Kongo, founded by Nzinga a Nkuwu, who was baptized in 1491. Nkuwu “rebranded” himself as King João after adopting the religion of the Portuguese missionaries. And sure enough, when these slaves later revolted, they were inspired by Kongolese Catholicism.

See more: did-kongolese-catholicism-lead-to-slave-revolutions? 

[1] Source: via 17th-century map of the Kingdom of Congo – Jonathan Aprea

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