For four million slaves, emancipation was a liberation and resurrectionstory of biblical proportion, both the clearest example of God's interventionin human history and a sign of the end of days. In this book, MatthewHarper demonstrates how black southerners' theology, in particular theirunderstanding of the end times, influenced nearly every major economicand political decision they made in the aftermath of emancipation. Fromconsidering what demands to make in early Reconstruction to decidingwhether or not to migrate west, African American Protestants consistentlyinserted themselves into biblical narratives as a way of seeing the importanceof their own struggle in God's greater plan for humanity. Phrases like "jubilee,""Zion," "valley of dry bones," and the "New Jerusalem" in blackauthoredpolitical documents invoked different stories from the Bible toargue for different political strategies.This study offers new ways of understanding the intersections betweenblack political and religious thought of this era. Until now, scholarship onblack religion has not highlighted how pervasive or contested these beliefswere. This narrative, however, tracks how these ideas governed particularpolitical moments as African Americans sought to define and defend theirfreedom in the forty years following emancipation.
The End of Days
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