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Sparagmous, or “The Crucified”

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Part of the Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice book series (BRWT)

Abstract

Drawn into the maelstrom of Western expansion, the Africans were torn from their homeland and swallowed up in the ever-increasing need for cheap labor in the pursuit of profit. With their participation in the process of Western expansion, objectified as chattel, the Africans and their descendants were doomed from the beginning to an ex istence characterized by social and cultural alienation; in a word, marginalization. This status would be codified by law, although it would extend much further into an evolving American culture and the African American soul.

In 1705, almost exactly a century after the first colonists had set foot on Jamestown, the House of Burgesses codified and systematized Virginia’s laws of slavery. These laws would be modified and added to over the next century and a half, but the essential legal framework within which the institution of slavery would subsequently operate had been put in place. It had taken the English in Virginia the best part of one hundred years to finalize their construction of a legal status quite unknown in the Common Law of England, to declare unequivocally that Africans were a form of property: that they were, and henceforth would remain, “Strangers” and “outsiders” who would be required to live out their lives according to an entirely different set of laws from those that governed people of European birth and ancestry.1

Keywords

Passive Coping African Culture Italic Mine Ontological Security Black Folk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Betty Wood, The Origins of American Slavery: Freedom and Bondage in the English Colonies (New York: Hill and Wang, 1997), 92.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Joseph E. Holloway, Africanisms in American Culture (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990)Google Scholar
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    Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 95.Google Scholar
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    See, Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (New York: Harper Perennial, 1987). Professor Rubenstein makes a persuasive and powerful argument in this short but disturbingly potent text that the Holocaust and slavery were fundamentally connected through a virus that infects Western culture. In spite of the broad generalizations, the depth and the passion of his argument frightens and convinces, leaving one with a sense that while certain portions of his argument rests on family resemblances and perhaps informed intuition at best, it nevertheless rings profoundly true!Google Scholar
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    W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (New York: New American Library, 1982), 8–9.Google Scholar

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© Matthew V. Johnson 2010

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