Record of the baptism of Anthony van Angola
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.
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.