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What helped African-Americans to overcome slavery? In the excerpt "The Church and Slavery” by Harriet Jocobs, we learn how slaves were exposed to religion by their masters in order to overthrow slave’s urge for murder. In the story Priest Mr. Pike held Episcopal service at a free colored man’s church. The Bible was misrepresented to slaves in order for them to do as one’s told. It was not only after the change of the clergyman when slaves were told the truth about religion and faith. New clergyman and his wife were very kind to slaves. They helped the neediest and taught some slaves to read. Education would help slaves to compete with white men for their rights. Moreover, knowledge of reading and writing would give slaves an ability to pass their customs in more efficient way. It would help to conserve better knowledge of their race to their descendants. Reading and writing was necessary for the slaves to establish themselves religiously and as a stronger, more educated race.
Slaveholders took control by restricting African-Americans from learning how to read and write. Without this knowledge slaves were easily susceptible to the lies about religion and its purpose from the mouth of a white man. The inability to read and write put slaves under the religious control of their masters. Harriet Jacobs talks about one of the religious teaching texts for slaves “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” (Jacobs 41), which was read by Mr. Pike to his parishioners in a free colored man’s church. White people acted as if they were Gods by falsifying religion and making excuses for their brutality. Colored people were pushed aside from true religious beliefs and practices, by the scheming lies of their masters. This would not have happened if slaves had the knowledge of reading and writing. Information is a very powerful knowledge. Reading and writing are the tools through which we can receive and pass that information. The person who has valuable information, that is restricted from others, has power over them. Jacobs states the true teaching of religion to African-Americans “Try to live according to the word of God, my friends. Your skin is darker than mine; but God judges men by their hearts, not by the color of their skins.” (Jacobs 43), said Episcopal clergyman. Everybody is equal in the eyes of God, therefor should be treated equally. It does not matter where one comes from or what one’s status is, human rights of every person should always stay equal In this case, because of the inability of slaves to read and get...

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