One hallmark of the American experience captured in the Museum's collections is the nation's broad diversity of religious faiths. Artifacts range from Thomas Jefferson's Bible to a huge "Sunstone" sculpture carved for a Mormon temple in Illinois in 1844 to a household shrine from the home of a Pueblo Indian in the 1990s. Furniture, musical instruments, clothing, cooking ware, and thousands of prints and figures in the collections have all played roles in the religious lives of Americans. The most comprehensive collections include artifacts from Jewish and Christian European Americans, Catholic Latinos, Protestant Arab Americans, Buddhist and Christian Asian Pacific Americans, and Protestant African Americans. One notable group is the Vidal Collection of carved figures known as santos and other folk religious material from the practice of Santeria in Puerto Rico.
"Religion - Overview" showing 1 items.
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- The Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church sprang up in rural areas across the South following the Civil War, providing a place of rest and community for freed slaves. Even if church services only occurred once or twice a month when a traveling minister visited, the house of worship provided not only a place to rekindle faith but as a school and meeting house for fraternal clubs. Homecomings came around harvest time, bringing visitors from across the country. Relatives and neighbors who had moved away came back to spend time with family, sharing stories of their lives in northern cities. The often-embellished picture of northern urban life painted at such reunions encouraged others to contemplate boarding trains north.
- World War I brought a new era of industrial opportunity for African Americans, But as production demands grew, wartime recruitment took away traditionally white and immigrant factory workers. Northern labor recruiters, newspapers, and word-of-mouth spread news of higher wages and regular work being offered to African Americans willing to move. Desire for better treatment and better paying jobs brought hundreds of thousands of African Americans north.
- Those left behind in the South found continued solace and fortitude in the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, leading the way in continuing the fight for basic civil rights for all. Freedom songs sung in marches and jails spread to whites traveling from northern colleges to join in the struggle, spreading lyrics and ideas back north that have now become familiar to those visiting the National Mall and public squares across the country participating in democratic demonstrations of a range of popular issues.
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- Mt. Zion Mission Baptist Church
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center