Wherever Africans have traveled throughout the African Diaspora, religion has always played a major role in the ordering of their lives, their worldview and how they ascribe meaning to their lives. Daily, and almost casually, it can be heard, African Americans, saint and sinner alike, when stressed calling on the name of the Jesus. In the movie Kingdom Come, the not-so-religious character Charisse Slocumb played by Jada Pinkett Smith, screams “LORD TAKE ME NOW!” as she falls out at the funeral of her father. This hyper dramatized scene plays out daily in the black community.
Africans have always been adaptable when it came to religion- Vodou, Hoodoo, Candomble, Santeria and other new world traditions are all syncretic religions. For Africans, tradtionally, faith was imbued in everything they did, Africans carried with them their faith. Rev. Peter E. Adotey Addo says " ...the private and public life of the African religious rites, beliefs, and rituals are considered an integral part of life. Life... is never complete unless it is seen always in its entirety. Religious beliefs are found in everyday life and no distinction is made between the sacred and the secular. The sacred and the secular are merged in the total persona of the individual African. Life is not divided into compartments or divisions."
Below find a list of materials housed in the African American Center to speak to the religious views held throughout the African Diaspora.
This Far By Faith: stories from the African American Religious Experience
African Beliefs in the New World
Introduction to African Religion
Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief
The History of the Negro Church
Yakub: the Father of Man-kind
Ifism- the complete works of Orunmila vols. 6 & 7
Botanica Los Angeles: Latino popular religious art in the City of Angels
The Neteru of Kemet
History of Islam in Africa
How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind
How God Became African
Down Up and Over: slave religion and black theology
African Gods: contemporary rituals and beliefs