Toni Morrison’s novel A Mercy begins with a Sophie’s Choice moment for a slave woman living in Barbados in the late 17th century. Her master owes a debt to a trader, and he offers the woman’s infant son as collateral. She pushes her preadolescent daughter toward the trader and begs him to take the girl instead.
Continuing its efforts to address a practice some members call “a stain on the church,” the Episcopal Church will hold a “Day of Repentance” to publicly apologize for its involvement in the slave trade.
The ceremony, mandated by a 2006 resolution at the church’s General Convention, will take place October 3-4 in Philadelphia.
Those who want to make lots of money and don’t care about breaking the law to do it have three main options: they can deal in drugs, deal in guns or deal in humans beings. Of these dubious but lucrative businesses, trafficking in humans is the fastest growing.
Just about every marketing card seems to be stacked against Amazing Grace. It’s not just that the film is a costume drama set in England at the turn of the 19th century, or that there are no big-name American actors in the cast. The real obstacle is the setting: it’s a movie about British politicians, in wigs, and the inner maneuverings of the British Parliament. Moreover, Amazing Grace speaks openly of Christian faith and the Bible’s demands for justice for all people—not a recipe for a blockbuster. Yet the film is genuinely inspiring.
I was daydreaming at a stoplight recently when the sound of thunder shook me from my reverie. It was pulsing rhythmically, and there seemed to be a faint whistling or screeching sound, as if I was in a hurricane or tornado.
In 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation marked the beginning of the end of slavery. The new air of freedom brought an unintoxicated euphoria. But a century later, freedom was redefined, this time as an absence of responsibility. The new air of license was inhaled and produced an intoxicated forgetfulness of anything that smacked of authoritarian inhibitions or paralyzing parameters.
Allen Guelzo’s book leads us into contested territory. For more than a generation after the Civil War, Francis B. Carpenter’s painting “The Emancipation Proclamation,” portraying Lincoln as the great emancipator, occupied an honored place in many American—including African American—homes.
What was life like for Kentucky slaves who lived so close to the Ohio River that they could see freedom’s shore? What distinctive anxieties plagued their masters? What special opportunities existed for local abolitionists?