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Which part of the Exodus story energized African- Americans to resist the oppression of...

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chaver | Honors

Posted July 14, 2013 at 5:27 AM via web

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Which part of the Exodus story energized African- Americans to resist the oppression of slavery?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 14, 2013 at 5:43 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that there are some distinct elements of the Exodus narrative that served to energize many African- Americans to resist the oppression intrinsic to slavery.  The idea of Moses being the figure to lead the ancient Hebrews out of suffering is one such element.  In the spiritual, Moses' call to evil Pharaoh to "Let my people go" served as a force of energy to resist.  For those who were enslaved, the idea that Moses calls out to the oppressors to stop or face drastic consequences provided inspiration and energy to those who suffered under the slave owner's whip.  Moses could be seen as a divine force of salvation, or, in the context of slavery, could be seen as someone like Harriet Tubman, conductor on the Underground Railroad who led many slaves to freedom.  The idea that there is a liberator, someone who is willing to take the reins of leadership to lead those who are suffering out of bondage, can be seen as one aspect of the Exodus narrative that energized many African - Americans to resist the oppression of slavery.

Another aspect of the Exodus narrative that helped to energize many African- Americans is its existential presence in the slavery context.  For those who were enslaved, seeing their plights in the same context as the ancient Hebrews' in the book of Exodus proved to be energizing in its resistance.  Many African- Americans understood that, like the Hebrews, they were being tested by God.  If they could endure like the Hebrews, they would be delivered out of bondage, like the Hebrews.  The idea of seeing their narratives of pain and brutality cast in the narrative of Exodus provided hope and energy to a condition that lacked it.  In this, one can see how the entire narrative of Exodus energized African- Americans to resist the oppression intrinsic to slavery.

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