Slavery and Christianity in Harriet A. Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself

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The Incongruity of Slavery and Christianity in Harriet A. Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself

Slavery, the “Peculiar Institution” of the South, caused suffering among an innumerable number of human beings. Some people could argue that the life of a domestic animal would be better than being a slave; at least animals are incapable of feeling emotions. Suffering countless atrocities, including sexual assault, beatings, and murders, these slaves endured much more than we would think is humanly possible today. Yet, white southern “Christians” committed these atrocities, believing their behaviors were neither wrong nor immoral. Looking back at these atrocities, those who call themselves Christians are
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Any knowledgeable man of the bible realizes that it does indeed refer to slavery and the justification of it numerous times. Jacobs writes that the “[plantation owners] seem to satisfy their consciences with the doctrine that God created the Africans to be slaves” (44). She continues by quoting the Bible, stating “What a libel upon the heavenly Father, who ‘made of one blood all nations of men!’” (44). This statement says that all men are equal, although other verses directly contest it.

The Bible’s verses concerning slavery contradict other verses in several places when discussing slavery and the treatment of slaves. Ephesians 6:5-9 instructs masters to “give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Galatians 3:28 states that “[T]here is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Again, the Bible illustrates that slaves were equal to all others, stating “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, … whether we be bond of free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Abolitionists undoubtedly used these quotes in order to put an end to slavery.

In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs discusses the role that

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