Fredrick Douglass witnessed harsh and violent actions throughout his slave life, as slave owners utilized Christianity as a justification for these actions and for the system of slavery. Douglass experienced this religious abuse throughout his life as a slave. However, in 1832, when he began working for Captain Auld, he witnessed the misuse of religion in the setting of a violent action. After Auld whipped a young woman, he justified his actions by quoting the Bible: “He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many strips” (33). 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
From a young age, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an enlightened thinker. Whether it be because of his youthful fascination with the word eternity, which he found “majestic” (p.3), or his determination to be a theologian at thirteen, it seems unsurprising that he would grow to be a man of original mind and concepts, not destined to follow a crowd. Throughout his life, there are many ideas that are either thrown his way or intentionally sought after by him that contribute overall to his decision to resist the German Christians and subsequently the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer’s acquisition of knowledge that he accumulates throughout his existence, which include theories from each new place and new people he encounters, allow him to grasp a worldly view of
In The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, the author uses aphorisms, deductive reasoning, and a particular use of pronouns to appeal to the reader’s emotions. His purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with him, and he does this by creating a common enemy using these techniques. He appeals to the reader’s emotions, making them feel like a victim of society, and then offering condolence and support.
The Cross and the Lynching tree is a recent work from James H. Cone. Currently a Systematic Theology professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, he is renowned as a founder of black liberation theology. In this book, he reflects on the most brutal chapter of white racism in the 20th century America where 5,000 innocent blacks were lynched to death by white mobs. And he tells us how blacks were able to survive the unspeakable reality of violence and torture with faith and hope in Christ. As a witness for blacks who were voiceless and ignored, he speaks out against the white church for saying little about slavery and racial justice. His passion for social justice comes from growing up in Arkansas in the Jim Crow era. The memories of his father and lynch mobs never left him. Black church comforted him, but made him wonder. “If the white churches are Christian, how come they segregate us? And if God is God, why is He letting us suffer?” (1) The lifelong quest for answers to these questions shaped his theology
People generally agree that the religious life of African American forms the foundation of their community life. However, in the 1770s, less than 1% of African Americans were connected to a church. Was the church/ Christianity force upon African Americans while enslaved? Scholars estimated that about 30% of African Americans that came to the United States as slaves were Muslims while 70% practiced indigenous forms of worship. Today, in the 21st century, more than 87% of African Americans identify as Christian and claims that religion plays a major role in their everyday life. African Americans should rethink Christianity in their community, such as how was Christianity introduced to them, does Christianity help the African American community,
In the 1960’s discrimination was a major issue, and thought times have change now it is also a very prominent issue. This problem should have been abolished s along with slavery. It is a problem that is very difficult to solve because it is instilled in people from the time they are born. There are many sides to discrimination; there is racial, economical, and institutional discrimination, segregation, etc. The essays, Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin and Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King contain many similarities as well as differences. Even though they were both written during the same time period(WHAT TIME PERIOD) you will notice that Kings Letter From Birmingham
In Albert Raboteau’s Slave Religion, I expected to read a book dripping with rant-filled commentary. Judging the book solely on its cover, I would not normally pick up –or even read– a book that did not jump out at me from the design on the cover, and this book did not jump out. However, Raboteau’s depiction of the life of the slave did jump out at me. In elementary and high school, teachers briefly touch on the topic of slavery and its role in America, but religion is never touched on with slavery –at least my teachers never taught them together. So finally getting to learn the two side by side, it was fascinating to see how Africans created a version of their own religion of Christianity. The methods that slaves took to survive the cruelties
The story Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass is a tale of a colored man’s atrocious experience during his brief period in the shackles of slavery. His incredible sense of wit, ability to grasp knowledge, and amazing aptitude for strategy brought him to become an educated, free colored man who could share his appalling experiences with us today. Fredrick Douglass’s credibility can be questioned, for it is quite a difficult feat to be able recall every accounted-for incident that has occurred in his past. At least, for the purposes of Douglass’s religious persecution, Garrison answers this question for readers by assuring that, in one instance, Douglass’s words were “sustained by a cloud of witnesses, whose veracity is unimpeachable”
Harriet Ann Jacobs known to the public as Linda Brent and Frederick Douglass both were the victims of slavery and succeed to escape its clutches. As they possessed the skill of literateness, after becoming free members of the American society, they decided to write down their experiences of living as slaves to share what they had witnessed. Consequently, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” is the fruit of Linda Brent’s labor, and Frederic Douglass delivered his testimony in “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”. Additionally, this is not the point where their similarities diminish. They were also involved into abolitionist movement and work as social reformers which gained them recognition and esteem amid Northerners. However, it is crucial to acknowledge how much resemblance their ordeals included before the liberation in terms of gender
In this analysis of religion in the Civil war south, Paul Harvey uses race and culture in describing southern religion in both priestly and prophetic. Paul Harvey argues the profound faith of believers in the civil war south. Harvey bases his analysis on three major points. First, theological racism, second racial interchange and third, Christian interracialism. Harvey concludes that even though theological racism dominated in the beginning, interracial exchanges and Christian interracial encounters fueled the civil rights movement and reversed racism in the post civil war south.
In The Fire Next Time, author James Baldwin describes with graphic detail the struggles of the black community. “The whores and pimps and racketeers on the Avenue had become a personal menace…my friends began to drink and smoke, and embarked-at first avid, then groaning-on their sexual careers” (Baldwin 16). The African-American community is plagued with an economic problem; jobs and money have been cut off from the grasps of families, and desperate men have often turned to habits of drinking, gambling, and drug abuse. Even (insert however many years ago it was) years ago, black communities faced these problems. Baldwin’s friends turned to these habits because they were constantly oppressed, and had begun to seek outlets for their problems. His friends were now “…busy, as they put it, ‘fighting the man.’ ... unable to say what it was that oppressed them, except that they knew it was ‘the man’—the white man.”(Baldwin 18).
James Cone’s black liberation theology was his response to what he and many in the black community saw as the bankruptcy of the theology of white theologians, which was blind to black suffering while knowingly or unknowingly propping up the white-supremacist theology that had been the status quo in the United States since our nation’s founding. In A Black Theology of Liberation, which was his follow-up to God of the Oppressed, he fleshed out his black liberation theology that was rooted in the experience, cultural heritage, and distinctive
Jane Dailey’s “Sex, Segregation, and the Scared after Brown”, published in The Journal of American History, couples religion, sex, and the struggles of segregation during the civil rights movement. More specifically, Dailey addresses the language of “miscegenation”; asserting that religion was a vessel utilized by both sides of the segregation argument (Dailey 122). For the believing Christian, segregation of races was of “cosmological significance. The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education sparked much controversy in the religious word, mainly with those who supported segregation.
Religion is a thing that brings people together, but in some cases, it’s the very force that tears people apart. When people are first introduced to it, it can either be a blessing or burden. In the narrative Blackboy, by Richard Wright, Richard describes his life growing up in the South during Jim Crow laws. He faces a great deal of oppression during his lifetime, but some of the most difficult conflicts he faces are with religion and his own family. Since a young age, Richard’s family was very religious, and they wanted Richard to follow in this path as well. However, they expose him to religion in violent and mentally abusive ways that make their purpose larger than religion itself while completely ignoring Richard’s attempts to make his own choices with religion. Even as Richard becomes older and more able to think for himself, his family’s actions only intensify and they forever change his opinion on religion. However, while Richard’s family was unethical in the way they exposed him to religion, their actions truly reflect the hardships that are associated with a poor African American family during their time.
James Baldwin, a writer from Harlem, New York, is particularly studied because of how he addresses race in the United States. Though he saw himself as a “witness to the truth,” Baldwin becomes a leader in black freedom particularly in his collection of essays, The Fire Next Time (The Chicago Tribune). In the essays explored in class, “My Dungeon Shook” and “ Letter from a Region in My Mind,” religion is a reoccurring theme that played an integral part in Baldwin’s life. Although the streets would usually be seen as a more dangerous and deteriorating lifestyle than the church; chapters from The Fire Next Time demonstrate that the institution of the black church created an equally negative and lasting impression that mirrored the impact of street life.