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By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Greater than thirty-five years after the loss of life of Martin Luther King, Jr., americans ask yourself simply how a lot of his dream has come actual. Now popular student and big apple occasions bestselling writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., examines the incredible social and fiscal trip African american citizens have made because the civil rights period. utilizing the interviews he carried out for his groundbreaking PBS sequence, Professor Gates introduces us to forty-four participants from each phase of the African-American community-from Maya Angelou and Morgan Freeman to convict "Eric Edwards" and a unmarried mom on Chicago's South aspect. of their personal candid, deeply felt phrases, every one discusses what it ability to be African American within the twenty-first century: the fun, the issues, the perils. jointly, they exhibit a group united via reminiscence and tradition but divided through wealth and absence of opportunity...in an the US nonetheless suffering to make sure actual equality for all.

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One consequence of this insistence upon a common core of religious belief was a renewed search for those common elements that lurked beneath the surface denominational differences of a diverse citizenry. “Americans began to grope for a communal identity to which they could assign an ultimate and inclusive function. That institution was, or became, the nation” (Hatch 1977, 129). This search for a common religious core was made more urgent by the fear that growing denominationalism and the emergence of Enlightenment skepticism and rationalism would tear the new nation apart, and that Americans would simply not have enough in common to see themselves as members of a America’s Religious Roots / 33 unified polity.

Although he attended church occasionally during his presidency, he rarely did so otherwise. An entry in Jefferson’s journal made shortly after Washington’s death may be as illuminating as anything else. Feb. 1. Dr. Rush tells me that he had it from Asa Green that when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not.

All of these elements of the Reformation foreshadowed the competitive pluralism that would later thrive in the colonies, half a world away from the conformity-enforcing presence of kings, popes, and cultural traditions. As we have seen, pluralism and individualism gained further impetus from the Great Awakening. Religious newcomers and itinerant preachers “brought their new ideas and ways into a given colony, challenging existing laws and structures” (Lambert 2003, 13). This new religious marketplace further empowered individuals, who reveled in their newly expanded ability to choose from among competing sects and traditions based upon their own inclinations.

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