In 1706, twenty-four year old Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita was burned at the stake. Claiming to be the reincarnation of Saint Anthony, she had spent two years preaching a message of racial equality in Kongo. With her Kingdom in political disarray, Kimpa Vita fought against greed and corruption, winning many followers and challenging much of what missionaries preached about the Bible. Her movement spawned the African Independent Church movement, an effort to reconcile African spiritual needs with the Euro-centric teachings of the Christian church.
Because many of the slaves brought to America came from the Kongo, Kimpa Vita’s life directly influenced the slave culture in America. Her story is therefore an important part of both African and American history. The Black Hand of God is a carefully researched, fictionalized account of the true story of her life. Told from her father’s perspective, the story bears broad witness to the political, social, economic, religious, and personal challenges that shaped her life.