During the following decades, many more Black Hebrew congregations were established, and some of them had no connection to Christianity.
After World War I, for example, Wentworth Arthur Matthew, an immigrant from Saint Kitts, founded a Black Hebrew congregation in Harlem, claiming descent from the ancient Israelites.
Significantly, it does not depend on a documented lineage to Jewish ancestors nor does it require recognized Orthodox or Conservative conversions: Black Judaism is ...
a form of institutionalized (congregational) religious expression in which black persons identify themselves as Jews, Israelites, or Hebrews..a manner that seems unacceptable to the "whites" of the world's Jewish community, primarily because Jews take issue with the various justifications set forth by Black Jews in establishing this identity.
For African-Americans, appropriating Jewish history was part of a rebellion against the American racial hierarchy that deemed Africans inferior.
It was also a means of fulfilling their desire to know their origins and regain their lost history.
They are not recognized as Jews by the greater Jewish community.
Many choose to identify themselves as Hebrew Israelites or Black Hebrews rather than Jews in order to indicate their claimed historic connections.
Thus "Black Judaism," as defined here, stands distinctly apart from "black Judaism," or that Judaic expression found among black persons that would be acceptable to the world's Jewish community, such as conversion or birth from a recognized Jewish mother.
"Black Judaism" has been a social movement; "black Judaism" has been an isolated social phenomenon.
The beliefs and practices of Black Hebrew groups vary considerably.