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Chosen PeopleThe Rise of American Black Israelite Religions$
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Jacob S. Dorman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301403

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301403.001.0001

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“This Is Our Red Sea”

“This Is Our Red Sea”

Exodusters, Prophet William Saunders Crowdy, and the Beginnings of Black Israelism

(p.23) 1 “This Is Our Red Sea”
Chosen People

Jacob S. Dorman

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how Prophet William Saunders Crowdy, the founder of the Church of God and Saints of Christ, was born into slavery, experienced liberation, participated in the Civil War as a teenager, and moved to Kansas City and then to a Black town in Oklahoma as a middle-aged man. It was there, as the nation endured a horrific era of lynching and the rise of Jim Crow, that Crowdy had the revelation that African Americans were in fact the descendants of the ancient Israelites. Crowdy's extraordinary success in spreading this message, not just among African Americans but also among white Americans and Black South Africans, is a testament to the importance of the idea of the Israelites in American and Christian religious imaginations.

Keywords:   African Americans, ancient Israelites, Church of God and Saints of Christ, descendants

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