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The Sacred Mirror"Evangelicalism, Honor, and Identity in the Deep South, 1790-1860"$
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Robert Elder

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627564

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627564.001.0001

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Social Death and Everlasting Life

Social Death and Everlasting Life

Slave Identity, Honor, and Ritual

(p.114) Chapter Four Social Death and Everlasting Life
The Sacred Mirror

Robert Elder

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter argues that while enslaved people lived with the constant threat of social death and the shame of slavery, church membership offered an acknowledgment of their identity as part of the family of God. In contrast to the dehumanizing rituals of the slave trade, which were designed to separate slaves from the world of white honor, Christian rituals such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper recognized enslaved people as part of the church community, while church discipline of enslaved members involved an implicit but deeply significant acknowledgement of enslaved people as independent moral agents.

Keywords:   Slavery, Race, Social death, Ritual, Baptism, Honor, Shame, Discipline

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