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[Detail] Training School for Wives and Mothers, Baton Gouge, La. 1888.

Architecture: African American Churches, 1780-1925

Like other churches, the actual buildings in which African Americans worshiped following the Civil War varied from extremely simple structures to impressive edifices. Many of the churches shared architectural features with other American Christian churches of the time. Use the Browse Images by Subject feature to locate images of at least five churches. What, if anything, do these churches have in common? How are they different? Look at the overall shape of the building, architectural features such as towers or spires, building materials, size of the buildings, and any other features you can discern in the pictures.

Use other sources to find photographs of other American churches in the years following the Civil War. Again, look for similarities and differences. What factors might account for the differences that you note? What features are common to many of the churches you studied? What religious significance might these features have? Use the list of common features to write a brief description of American church architecture in the late 19th century. Use library or Internet sources to determine if your description is accurate.