This book provides a narrative historical, postcolonial account of African American religions. It examines the intersection of Black religion and colonialism to explain the relationship between empire and democratic freedom. Rather than treating freedom the opposite of colonialism, slavery and racism, the author interprets multiple periods of Black religious history to discern how Atlantic empires (particularly the U.S.) simultaneously enabled the emergence of particular forms of religious experience and freedom movements as well as disturbing patterns of violent domination. He explains theories of matter and spirit that shaped early indigenous religious movements in Africa, Black political religion responding to the American racial state, the creation of Liberia, and FBI repression of Black religious movements in the 20th century. By combining historical methods with theoretical analysis, he explains the seeming contradictions that have shaped Black religions in the modern era.