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Title: African American missionaries to East Africa, 1900-1926 : a study in the ethnic reconnection of the Gospel
Author: Orr, Rodney H.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact African American missionaries had on the ethnic reconnection between African Americans and East Africans. Their role in the evangelization of Africa has long been overlooked by historians and this research seeks to correct this disparity. Well before the end of slavery in the USA there was a desire among African Americans to send missionaries to Africa. Approximately 600 of these missionaries went to Africa between 1820 and 1980. Seventy-five percent went to West Africa, 50% went to Liberia alone. The remaining 25% went to South, Central and East Africa. The missionaries who went to East Africa (i.e. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Eastern Zambia) are the focus of this research. This research begins with a historical overview of African American missions. George Liele was the first documented African American missionary from the USA. Liele went to Jamaica from Savannah, Georgia in 1783. Lott Carey, who went to Liberia in 1821, was the first African American Baptist missionary to Africa. The purpose of this overview is to give the reader a context from which to comprehend the subsequent chapters. The next three chapters represent the major body of this research. They identify the key factors that motivated African American missionaries to go to East Africa. Factors such as calling from God, race, African identity and education are evaluated. The preparatory training of these missionaries is evaluated as is the external influences of Brooker T. Washington and J.J. Coles. The similarities in ancestry, race and some cultural expressions of music are contrasted with differences in education and views of western culture. African perceptions of these missionaries are evaluated along with the perceptions of western missionaries and colonial officials. A discussion of their attitudes towards Islam and African traditional religions is included as is an evaluation of the reasons why they returned to the USA. The changes these missionaries experienced in their cultural understanding of East Africa influenced their understanding of African identity, the gospel and their desire to return to Africa. Their readjustments to American culture are evaluated along with how they maintained their connection with East Africa through letters, literature, fund-raising, and helping Africans come to the USA for education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available