Exploring the rift between Christian teaching and evangelical practice in America is a topic that is back in the news, but slavery was one of the first instances of this religious doublethink. Civil War buffs in the Boston area can partake in this interesting, student-run exhibit on now at Harvard.
Another work on display is Josiah Priest’s “Slavery, as it Relates to the Negro, or African Race.” Published in 1843, the book defends slavery using narratives from the Book of Genesis. Priest argued that God created black people to be slaves, citing Noah’s curse on his son Ham, who Priest claimed had black skin.
“It was quite the read,” said Richmond, who chose the book. “When I think of Noah, I think of Noah’s Ark and the flood. I don’t think of how Noah would be used to justify slavery in America. That was something that was really different for me.”