The Friends of the Doherty Library will sponsor a lecture by Dr. Constance Michalos on Tuesday, April 12 at 2:00 p.m. in the Doherty Library atrium. The lecture is free and open to the public. The title of the lecture is Coerced or Committed: The Conversion Experience of America’s Slaves.
When Africans were kidnapped into slavery, they were forced to abandon their personal and cultural identities in order to facilitate the process. Christian slave owners used the Bible to justify their practices while, simultaneously, allowing slaves to “convert.” However, the state of the slave’s soul was not the issue; his black skin testified to his damned condition and confirmed the righteousness of slavery.
To a disturbing extent, the faith of the slaves was also the instrument of their torture. Nevertheless, the vernacular and written traditions of African American literature articulate a soul-wrenching faith in God, an abiding belief in Jesus as Savior, and a metaphorical connection to the miracles of the Old and New Testaments.
After the kidnappings and the trans-Atlantic crossings and the auction blocks and the separations and the name changes and the floggings and the rapes and the sales and the hypocrisies, how, exactly, does God let his presence be known in the hearts of the slaves? What psychological, as well as spiritual, processes did the slaves undergo in order to truly believe that the God the slaveholders claimed gave them the right to own another human being was the same God that would redeem them and reward them for eternity?
Call James Piccininni at 713-525-2192 for more information.