Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

African American Spirituality

  • Kathy CoffmanEmail author
  • Jamie D. Aten
  • Ryan M. Denney
  • Tiffani Futch
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_14

Spirituality has played a paramount role in shaping the identity of African Americans, permeating many aspects of life. African American spirituality has its roots in African religious traditions and culture (Boyd-Franklin 1989), according to which, people are born spiritual beings, and thus, religion and spirituality are an integrated part of identity. African religion and spirituality have also influenced African culture, education, social life, politics, and economics (Idowu 1992). Overall, African spirituality is very communal in nature as noted by John Mbiti, who said, “I am because we are; and because we are, therefore, I am” (1969: 108). Reflected in this quote is the idea that consciousness of oneself stems from duties, responsibilities, and privileges experienced with others.

Role of Faith

African spirituality helped those affected by slavery to nurture and promote a sense of community while under the influence of the white slave owners’ European religion (Battle 2006)....

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy Coffman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jamie D. Aten
    • 2
  • Ryan M. Denney
    • 2
  • Tiffani Futch
    • 2
  1. 1.AltaPointe Health Systems, EastPointe HospitalDaphneUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWheaton CollegeWheatonUSA