They couldn’t grasp the ideology of slavery, if those slave owners were real Christians. Being a real Christian meant that he or she respected the Bible and followed God’s moral guidance. By having this moral guidance, it gave blacks empowerment to have their voices heard without criticism, for they “may be refin’d and join th’ angelic train” (On Being | Wheatley). Wheatley appeared to be docile towards her audience, while Stewart was
Leslie Mendoza Professor Moreland September 22, 2014 ENGL 2327 Harriet Jacobs Equality is making sure that every individual is treated the same, and by that I mean the same. An individual should not be treated worse than another individual. They should respect their race, their gender, religion, sexual preferences, and also their needs. This is what Harriet Jacobs was searching for. Jacobs wanted to be free.
The beginning of the 17th Century marked the practice of slavery which continued till next 250 years by the colonies and states in America. Slaves, mostly from Africa, worked in the production of tobacco and cotton crops. Later , they were employed or ‘enslaved’ by the whites as for the job of care takers of their houses. The practice of slavery also led the beginning of racism among the people of America. The blacks were restricted for all the basic and legally privileged rights. Not only them but others outsiders (to America) such as Asian-Americans , native Americans etc.
Stewart was part of Boston’s African American middle class and worked as a servant in a clergyman’s home. Before serving as a nurse in Washington, DC during the Civil War, Stewart delivered four speeches, including the lecture at Franklin Hall in 1832. Stewart began her speech with a rhetorical question, “Why sit ye here and die?”, and replies by expressing how the whites are so in control of everything that they determine our life span. Additionally, Stewart asserts references from the Bible to appeal to the similarly religious audience. These references showcase how these prejudice treatments are not appreciated in the Bible.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an enticing tale of Douglas as he changes from slave to man. Near the beginning of the book, his first witness of a whipping reveals the entrance to the horrors that would come throughout his experience with enslavement. “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim…” (4) it displays the physical, emotional, and spiritual breaking of an individual; powerful words to create an understanding of the terror of slavery. Beating into absolute submission strikes a sense of sadness, pity, justice in the reader that encourages them to see slavery in a different light. Throughout his narrative he continues to attack these points to encourage similar feelings of pity and acknowledgement “to enlighten white readers about both the realities of slavery as an institution and the humanity of black people as individuals deserving of full human rights.”.
The entire poem references Christianity; however, at the end of the poem, Wheatley reprimands Christians who view African American slaves “with [a] scornful eye” (5), saying that African Americans, “black as Cain, may be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train” (7-8). This is a reference to the bible story of Cain and Abel; even after Cain killed his brother Abel, his God allowed him to live a full, life. With these lines, Wheatley explains to her listeners that despite the stereotypes others have for African Americans, they still deserve to have the full, ordinary life that others are privileged to receive. By articulating a significant allusion to emphasize her point, Wheatley once again relates Christianity to her personal experiences, specifically the observations of interactions between African American slaves and their advantaged owners. With extensive use of personification and allusions, Phillis Wheatley recounts Christianity with her experiences of slavery and redemption.
After having read both Frederick Douglass’s Narrative and Harriet Jacobs’s Incident 1. How were Douglass and Jacobs similar and different in their complaints against slavery? What accounts for these differences? In both the inspiring narratives of Narrative in the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Frederick Douglass’s and in Incidents in the life of a slave girl by Harriet Jacobs the respective authors demonstrate the horrors and disparity of slavery in there own ways.
In addition to establishing himself as a credible narrator and using anecdotes with repetitive diction and imagery, Douglass also highlights how religion was enforced in slavery. Every slave owner that Douglass belonged to was hypocritical and deceival towards their faith. This is frequently used through all his anecdotes to persuade the reader that slavery is full of non-sense and that the “devoted, peaceful, just, and kind owners” were full of lies. “He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and a long prayer at night; and, strange as it may seem, few men would at times appear more devotional than he…
Evangelical preachers, in keeping with their social doctrine that targeted the disadvantaged in society, attempted to convert slaves and Native Americans. Prior to the Awakening no one had made a serious effort at their conversion for fear that Christianity was “a step towards freedom” (357). Slaves attended evangelical sermons en masse, wary of the Anglican ministers who supported their masters. Evangelical Christianity offered moments of release and equality from the perpetual suffering of a slave’s life. This did not mean, however, that the evangelists actively opposed slavery.
Auld’s misinterpretation of the passage emphasizes slave owners use of religion to reinforce their power over their slaves. Christianity rationalized the concept of buying and selling human beings, and that God approved this too. In addition, Douglass used religion as a way to fuel his abolition movement. Under Master Hugh’s, Douglass began to learn how to read and write. Once
Douglass is relentless when attacking the church, he states, “The American Church is Guilty” (Douglass 1039). This has a slightly taste of irony, because here Douglass, a colored man, is calling out the most “sacred” body of people. It almost as if he was the master and they were the slave now. Next, the main theme expressed by
Douglass questions the existence of any God because of religious slaveholders, beginning to have a lack of a belief in God due to the slavery system as a whole, as many other slaves had too. This subtle break in of humanism due to slavery properly illustrates just how beliefs start to fall apart, and focus more on attaining freedom before heavenly affinity. This theme of humanism continues into their childhood, whereas Douglass is taught by white boys how to read. This shows the original intent of children, “The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers.
My mother was Harriet Bailey, and I do not recall who my father was, but I suspect he was a white man, and not just any white man but rumors spread that my master was my father. I didn’t really know my mother, it was custom practice to separate infants from their mothers before the twelfth month, and instead I was raised by an older woman who was too old to work in the fields. My mother finally died when I was seven, and at age eight I was sold to Baltimore to work for Hugh Auld. It was here that I learned about the abolition movement and to read and write. Auld’s wife taught me how to read and write while struggling to read the Bible, although Auld resented it and it angered him he didn’t do much to stop it.
Throughout his narrative, Douglass’s descriptions of the white slaveholders expose the Christian hypocrisy found in the American slave system. Douglass first does so by exposing how the lesson taught by Christians to help those in need is contradicted by the experiences Douglass has especially with hunger. Douglass reflects on these experiences when he states that for the “first time during a space of more than seven years” feeling the effects of the “painful gnawing’s of hunger…” (54). This event shows the Christians’ lessons of selflessness and kindness is hypocritical as they treat their fellow humans as subhuman. The Christians at the time rely on scripture to make a case for slavery in America.
Harriet Jacobs, referred to in the book as Linda Brent, was a strong, caring, Native American mother of two children Benny and Ellen. She wrote a book about her life as a slave and how she earned freedom for herself and her family. Throughout her book she also reveals countless examples of the limitations slavery can have on a mother. Her novel, also provides the readers a great amount of examples of how motherhood has been corrupted by slavery.