Converting Spanish Hispaniola: Race, Nation, and the A.M.E. Church in Santo Domingo, 1872-1904
This dissertation employs a diasporic framework to study the intersections of race, religion, and nationalism in Dominican society. It argues that in a country where elites have used state power and historiography to define national identity as Catholic, Spanish, and white, Protestant history reveals non-Catholic religious ties between Dominicans, African Americans, Haitians, and West Indians and offers a counter framework for understanding the Dominican Republic within the African Diaspora. Using church records, newspapers, and court cases, it examines the biographies of Afro-descended religious leaders, tracing their movements throughout the Caribbean and the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. It reveals how African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans imagined themselves, interacted with each other, and articulated various racial, religious, and political identities. Ultimately, this dissertation demonstrates that black Protestants’ religious beliefs provided an ideological basis for Afro-diasporic endeavors such as A.M.E. missions in the Caribbean. Despite these ties, anti-American sentiment in the Dominican Republic, poverty among black migrants, and public scandal limited the growth of black Protestantism in the Dominican Republic. These factors resulted in the social marginalization of the diasporic black church.
African Methodist Episcopal
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