Eloy Estefano Gonzalez
In the early 1960’s the civil war era was at its peak and full potential lead by great men like martin Luther King Jr, Mr. King Jr was very smart and knowledgeable but looked to the past for enlightenment and examples and actions to help him fighting for his rights. One piece of History was Nat Turner's Rebellion the first act for civil rights for african american. The Author of this Book Stephen Oates constructed the book with parts of books of the likes of “The Confessions of Nat Turner”. With all this information oates wants us to understand and feel how Nat felt and to truly understand and giving us a clear picture of how it was to be a Negro with little to no rights in the 1800’s.
Religion back in the 1800’s played a strong part in Southern slavery. “The Fires of Jubilee”, shows how religion was utilized in the daily lives of whites and slaves alike in South Hampton County. There are comparisons in the utilization of religion but with them, are distinct contrasts. My minds visualization is of a shadowed veil of darkness and despair, with someone desperately reaching out through it, reaching towards the shining light of hope that guides them towards true salvation - the contrasts are illuminated by their comparisons. Slave owners of the time, in South Hampton, believed that the “freedoms” they allowed to their slaves proved that they were good Christians. Slaves were permitted to read, write and at times, they were taken by their masters, to attend the white church. After Sunday services at the white church, slaves were also allowed to congregate on their own, among their families and neighboring farms. The Methodists were against slavery and tried, in vain, to convert the congregating whites to this belief. In the end, efforts proved futile - the bond of slavery held white southerners as strongly as it did their slaves.
The church then gave in and therefore, made efforts to save the souls of the slaves and convert them into Christianity. Often, whites allowed their slaves to hold their own sermons and preach the teachings of the bible, thinking that it only would further their own efforts of conformity as well as keep the slaves happy. As the breeze carried in news of slave discontent from other places, South Hampton whites began their own way of dealing with possible runaways or revolt – the bible, in their own words. Sermons were changed from the writings of the bible, into a dark, twisted white man's adaptation – purely for the benefit of the attending slaves. It was God's will that they were held in bondage and that they should obey God's word and submit to their masters whims, good or bad. By slaves going against the good book, they would be condemned to an eternity far worse than what they might think they are living now. However, some slaves could read and had been encouraged to study the bible. Whites used their religion as a means of soci...