By Jon F. Sensbach
Rebecca's Revival is the outstanding tale of a Caribbean woman--a slave grew to become evangelist--who helped motivate the increase of black Christianity within the Atlantic global. All yet unknown this day, Rebecca Protten left an everlasting effect on African-American faith and society. Born in 1718, Protten had a youth conversion adventure, received her freedom from bondage, and joined a gaggle of German proselytizers from the Moravian Church. She launched into an itinerant project, preaching to thousands of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, a Danish sugar colony within the West Indies. Laboring in obscurity and weathering persecution from antagonistic planters, Protten and different black preachers created the earliest African Protestant congregation within the Americas. Protten's eventful life--the recruiting of converts, an interracial marriage, an ordeal on fees of blasphemy and inciting of slaves, travels to Germany and West Africa--placed her at the cusp of an rising foreign Afro-Atlantic evangelicalism. Her profession presents a special lens in this prophetic circulate that may quickly sweep in the course of the slave quarters of the Caribbean and North the USA, considerably remodeling African-American tradition. Jon Sensbach has pieced jointly this forgotten lifetime of a black visionary from German, Danish, and Dutch documents, together with letters in Protten's personal hand, to create an surprising story of 1 woman's freedom amidst the slave alternate. Protten's lifestyles, with its evangelical efforts on 3 continents, finds the dynamic kinfolk of the Atlantic global and presents nice perception into the methods black Christianity constructed within the New global.
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Additional info for Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World
But in envisioning their own freedom, the 20 r e b e c c a’s r e v i va l Aminas operated out of old antagonisms and the desire to rule their former African subjects again. This was no pan-African coalition united in racial accord against a common white enemy, but a master plan born of one people’s exclusive sense of superiority. Small wonder that West Africans once sold into slavery by the Aminas wanted nothing to do with the plot. Despite their numbers, the Aminas were still a minority among the more than one thousand enslaved people on the island.
There remained a spiritual hungering, by Oldendorp’s account—and, presumably, by her own telling—that reading and speaking, and even the church, could not ﬁll. “She had hoped for a long time that a teacher might come, one who would point out the true path to salvation to her and others. In fact, she felt certain that God would send them someone for that very purpose. When, during her youth, a Roman Catholic priest baptized some Negroes on St. ” Why she did not go to the Reformed minister for baptism is unknown; it is possible that she started attending church only after she was baptized.
Such concerns would have been much on her mind, for she now belonged to that small class of free people of color, found in every New World slave society, dangling between slavery and freedom. On St. Thomas their numbers were tiny—118 in 1755, no doubt even fewer in the early 1730s—and most were quarantined by law in a small free black neighborhood of Charlotte Amalie called the Free Guts. Many, like Rebecca, were mixed-race people who had gained freedom through their master’s wills and other private acts of manumission.