Jeremiah Wright, the African American minister from Chicago's Trinity Church, had denounced the United States with inflammatory language: "God damn America! While many white voters seemed surprised, puzzled and shocked by Wright's angry rhetoric, African Americans were less so." Wright's most famous parishioner was the leading Democratic contender for the presidential nomination, Barack Obama. Obama seized the moment to deliver a profound meditation on race in America, a speech titled "A More Perfect Union." Tracing the deep historical roots of racial inequality and injustice, Obama put Wright's anger into historical context.Functioning as quasi-religious organizations, these societies often gave rise to independent black churches.
Remarkably, a few black preachers in the South succeeded in establishing independent black churches.The term "the black church" evolved from the phrase "the Negro church," the title of a pioneering sociological study of African American Protestant churches at the turn of the century by W. African American Christians were never monolithic; they have always been diverse and their churches highly decentralized.Today "the black church" is widely understood to include the following seven major black Protestant denominations: the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and the Church of God in Christ.In the 1780s, a slave named Andrew Bryan preached to a small group of slaves in Savannah, Ga. Despite persecution and harassment, the church grew, and by 1790 it became the First African Baptist Church of Savannah.In time, a Second and a Third African Church were formed, also led by black pastors.