A favorite of mine on slavery and religion:

Uncle Silas was near bout a hundred, I reckon--too feeble to do no work, but always got strength to hobble to church when the slave-service gonna be. Ole Preacher was Reverend Johnson--forget the rest of his name. He was preaching and the slaves was sitting there sleeping and fanning theyselves with oak branches, and Uncle Silas got up in the front row of the slaves pew and halted Reverend Johnson.

"Is us slaves gonna be free in heaven?" Uncle Silas asked.

The preacher stopped and looked at Uncle Silas like he wanted to kill him, cause no one ain't supposed to say nothing except "Amen" whilst he was preaching. Waited a minute he did, looking hard at Uncle Silas standing there but didn't give no answer.

"Is God gonna free us slaves when we get to Heaven?" Uncle Silas yelled.

Old white preacher pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his face--"Jesus says come unto Me ye who are free from sin and I will give you salvation."

"Gonna give us freedom along with salvation," ask Uncle Silas.

"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, he that is without sin is gonna have life everlasting," preached the preacher. The he went ahead preaching, fast-like without no attention to Uncle Silas.

But Uncle Silas wouldn't sit down; stood there the rest of the service, he did, and that was the last time he come to church. Uncle Silas died for another preaching come around. Guess he found out whether he gonna be free sooner than he calculated to.

From Weevils In The Wheat: Interviews With Virginia Ex-slaves. The book is incredible.


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