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Slavery and the Making of AmericaDrawing of a sermon at the First African Church in Richmond, Virginia
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The Slave Experience: Religion
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Original Documents Religion

Record of the baptism of Anthony van Angola
08/30/1643
Courtesy of the Archives of the Collegiate Church of the City of New York. "Doop-Boeck" -- Baptisms from 1639 to 1697 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New York.
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Photo of the record of the baptism of Anthony van Angola
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Document Description
Many of the first black slaves in the American Colonies joined the Dutch church. Participation in this religious system not only offered hope that a child might be freed through baptism, but also helped Atlantic-Creoles of the early generations build community identity. Baptism records like this one show that black members of the Dutch church often turned to other blacks to stand in as witnesses of the sacrament.

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