Why is the book Jubilee by Margaret Walker titled "Jubilee"?

The book Jubilee by Margaret Walker is entitled as such because, in Judaism, the term refers to a year of emancipation that happens once every fifty years. As the book is concerned with the American Civil War, which emancipated the slave, this is a particularly appropriate word to use as its title.

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The word “jubilee” is most commonly used to describe the special anniversary of an event. So for instance, in 1977, the people of the United Kingdom celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

However, the use of the word goes much further back in time, back to the days of the ancient Hebrews. In ancient Judaism, a jubilee was a year of emancipation, kept every fifty years, a time for forgiving debts and for releasing prisoners and slaves. And it’s in that sense that Margaret Walker uses the word as the title for her novel, set before, during, and after the American Civil War. Her usage is entirely appropriate because, of course, the Civil War led to the emancipation of the slaves.

The protagonist of the story, Vyry, is emancipated herself, only to experience racial prejudice after the war is over and all the slaves have been freed. As we saw earlier, a jubilee in ancient Judaism was a regularly occurring...

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