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An estimated twelve million Africans were forced into slavery from the seventeenth century until Emancipation. Torn from their land, separated from family and kin, their bodies were stolen and their very identities were at risk of annihilation. So Africans became African Americans. Years before Reconstruction, they began reconstructing their own past. Many of them combined patriotism, racial lineage, and Christian scripture to tell their stories, to remember who they were. To save themselves.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp joins us in this episode to talk about this history from her acclaimed book, Setting Down the Sacred Past: African American Race Histories. Maffly-Kipp recently visited Brigham Young University to present at our conference, “The Living Reformation.” Her presentation will be available to watch online in the coming weeks.

About the Guest

Laurie Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. She taught religious studies and American studies for twenty-four years at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and is a prior president of the Mormon History Association. She’s written and edited many books about topics including African American religions, Mormonism, and Protestantism.




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