In time, a Second and a Third African Church were formed, also led by black pastors.
In the North, blacks had more authority over their religious affairs.
Remarkably, a few black preachers in the South succeeded in establishing independent black churches.
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 black churches, women generally were not permitted to preach.
Thomas Episcopal Church, which remained affiliated with a white Episcopal denomination. Historian Mary Sawyer notes that by 1810, there were 15 African churches representing four denominations in 10 cities from South Carolina to Massachusetts.
Eventually Obama broke with Wright and left Trinity, but his speech illuminated the role of the black church in the African American experience.
Standing apart from the dominant white society, yet engaged in a continuing dialogue with it, the church evolved with countless acts of faith and resistance, piety and protest. In its origins, the phrase was largely an academic category.
Many worshipped in established, predominantly white congregations, but by the late 18th century, blacks had begun to congregate in self-help and benevolent associations called African Societies.
Functioning as quasi-religious organizations, these societies often gave rise to independent black churches.