The Memoir of Old Elizabeth Essays

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The memoir of Old Elizabeth presents a rare and important slave narrative in which the stories of African American women intersect with the experiences of African American people in roles of religious leadership. Elizabeth broke many of societies conventions at the time by preaching and holding religious meeting despite being woman. Her religious work was met with backlash from the church and from many other people who did not accept the idea of a woman leading religious services, yet she continued to practice until her health would no longer allow for it. This is unusual as it spends most of the narrative on the time after she was free rather than focusing on the time that she was enslaved the way that many slave narratives do. Though…show more content…
” The influences of the religious teaching that she received from her parents in her early childhood shaped the lifestyle, which she led up until her death. Elizabeth describes her father reading to her on the Sabbath day and remarks that she “Felt the overshadowing of the lords spirit .” At one point in her life, when she was around twelve she became so ill that she assumed she would die, and during this time vividly hallucinated that Jesus came to her. This sparked her to become even more religious than she had been in the past, and prompted her to continue a lifestyle of prayer and intense religious devotion despite living in a place where most people did not pray, and where she was often mocked for the amount of prayer that she preformed. This influence of religion in her early life proves that there were some serious discrepancies in how religion was viewed from plantation to plantation. Elizabeth’s early childhood was filled with religion, mainly thanks to the teaching of her parents, and on that particular plantation it was not considered odd, yet on the next plantation that Elizabeth lived on there was no religion and she was openly mocked for being religious. As Elizabeth got older her sense of religious fervor did not fade, and she continued to practice as a Christian. She was freed by a man who felt that slavery should only be for a term of time and not for a person’s entire
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