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Speak to my Heart
Communities of Faith and Contemporary African American Life.

Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture


Community Affirmations of Faith
Gathering Together in Somebody's Name

In these rapidly changing times, traditional churches, independent congregations, and religious communities of all persuasions attract seekers and provide them with answers to some of life's most burning questions.

The desire for fellowship draws individuals together into a coordinated, supportive, sustaining body. Faith communities define themselves in many ways: by creeds and bodies of beliefs, use of sacred texts, liturgy, symbols, rituals, cultural similarities, and their particular response of the pressures and discriminations of secular society.

Pulpit or lectern During a worship service, all eyes are on the pastor, minister, imam, or speaker behind the pulpit or lectern as he or she "rightly divides the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) this piece was used by the late Bishop Walter McCollough of the United House of Prayer for All People, Washington, D.C. It was hand-made by United House of Prayer carpenters.

Mrs. Habeebah Muhammad always begins and ends her process of making Dikkar beads with prayer. (Dikkar is Arabic for supplication.) This string has 99 beads of molded glass, plus beads of garnet and carnelian, semi-precious gemstones. Carnelian is thought to have been a favorite stone of the Prophet Muhammad. The color of the beads and stones stands for "fire," which means strength, vitality, and power.

Habeebah Muhammad in prayer

Bible A Bible may be a treasury of divine revelation, guide and notebook of spiritual truth, or a repository of family mementos. This Bible belonged to the mother of Grace D. Wilkes, who remembers her mother reading it after a hard day of work.

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