The Slave Narratives - Part 7 of a Series of 10

John Beckwith, 83, of Cary, NC, former slave, in 1937. “I reckon dat I wuz ‘bout nine years old at de surrender…I wuz happy den as I thinks back of it, until dem Yankees come.”
John Beckwith, 83, of Cary, NC, former slave, in 1937. “I reckon dat I wuz ‘bout nine years old at de surrender…I wuz happy den as I thinks back of it, until dem Yankees come.”

As part of the Federal Writer’s Project during the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration employed scores of journalists to interview former slaves and record verbatim (and in dialect) their memories of slavery. From 1936 to 1938 about 2, 300 former slaves were interviewed, most of whom were delighted to tell about “slavery times.”  In 1941, these systematically designed interviews were published by state in a multi-volume series called The Slave Narratives.

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Masters, Slaves, and the Conditions of Slavery - Part 6 of 10

The photo is book cover of Time on the Cross and should be sufficient in itself—nothing needs to be added. Source wiki.
The photo is book cover of Time on the Cross and should be sufficient in itself—nothing needs to be added. Source wiki.

There was a great variation in the conditions of slavery among peoples and over time in history. Sometimes conditions improved or deteriorated within a single civilization. The relationship between master and slave also varied among peoples and over time. Slavery or some similar hierarchical system was extremely prevalent in ancient times. Many slaves held special status because of their responsibilities or personal relationship to their master. 

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The Contrast of Abolitionist Versus Providential Views - Part 5 of a series of 10

Rev. John Henry Hopkins ((1792-1868). Irish-born Episcopal Bishop of Vermont (1832-1868). Eighth Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church in U.S. (1865-8). Defended Authority of Scripture and Providential view of slavery.
Rev. John Henry Hopkins ((1792-1868). Irish-born Episcopal Bishop of Vermont (1832-1868). Eighth Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church in U.S. (1865-8). Defended Authority of Scripture and Providential view of slavery.

On February 4, 1863, the famous abolitionist attorney and orator, Wendell Phillips, made this remarkable declaration from the pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher’s huge Plymouth Church in Brooklyn:

“I do not believe there will be any peace until 347,000 men of the South are either hanged or exiled.”

The crowd cheered.  Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was himself one of the most famous abolitionists and sought-after speakers in America. Henry Beecher was also known for raising money to send Sharps rifles to abolitionists fighting in Kansas and Nebraska—known as “Beecher’s Bibles.”

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Scripture versus Leading Abolitionist Preacher Theodore Parker - Part 4 of a series

Theodore Parker (1810-1859), Radical abolitionist leader and preacher
Theodore Parker (1810-1859), Radical abolitionist leader and preacher

Chapter 25 of Leviticus established Biblical regulation of slavery. Slavery is allowed contingent upon slaves being treated fairly and humanely, but it is not promoted. Slave owners and overseers are not counted as villains or moral lawbreakers unless they significantly mistreat or abuse their slaves. It is also important to understand that in God’s eyes, earthly status of slave or free makes no difference.

Colossians 3: 9-13 Your new status: Chosen by God, so have a humble and forgiving heart.

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Civil War Issues and the Battle for Biblical Authority - Part 3 of a series

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, built 1751-1761. Became St. Michael’s Anglican Church in 2017 related to issues  of Biblical authority.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, built 1751-1761. Became St. Michael’s Anglican Church in 2017 related to issues of Biblical authority.

The role of slavery as a cause of the U.S. Civil War has been disingenuously exaggerated.  The Civil War was fought to prevent Southern secession and independence and the loss of more than 80 percent of total Federal tax revenues. The Morrill Tariff, part of a 37-year history of protective tariffs profiting the North and exploiting the South, was passed, signed, and endorsed by Lincoln in March 1861. This tariff was so outrageously unfair and burdensome to the South’s agricultural export economy that it practically forced the cotton-producing states to secede to pursue their own economic interest by free trade.  States Rights were closely related to Southern economic welfare.  Southerners also felt that the Northern political majority was moving away from the Constitutional principles of 1776, 1789, and 1791 toward a consolidated national government pursuing purely sectionalist Northern interests.  The principal Northern objective regarding slavery was simply to prevent it from spreading into the territories and new states. The Civil War was not a moral crusade to free slaves.

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Mike Scruggs