In this Book

Claiming Exodus
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summary
During the 18th century, American Puritans introduced migrant and enslaved Africans to the Exodus story. In contrast to the ways white Americans appropriated the texts to defend the practice of slavery, African migrants and slaves would recast the Exodus in defense of freedom and equality, creating narratives that would ultimately propel abolition and result in a wellspring of powerful writing. Drawing on a broad collection of Afro-Atlantic authors, Rhondda Robinson Thomas shows how writers such as Absalom Jones, Daniel Coker, and W.E.B. Du Bois employed the Exodus metanarrative to ask profound, difficult questions of the African experience. These writers employed it as a literary muse, warranting, Thomas contends, that they be classified and studied as a unique literary genre. Through an arresting reading of works renowned to the largely unknown, Claiming Exodus uncovers in these writings a robust foundation for enacting political change and a stimulating picture of Africans constructing their own identity in a new and unfamiliar land.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-v
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. xi-13
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  1. Introduction: From Egypt to Canaan, An Afro-Atlantic Journey
  2. pp. 1-7
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  1. 1. Exodus and the Politics of Liberty (1774–1800)
  2. pp. 9-29
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  1. 2. Exodus as the Blueprint for Building Free Black Communities (1800–1840)
  2. pp. 31-58
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  1. 3. Exodus in the Era of Manifest Destiny (1840–1861)
  2. pp. 59-82
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  1. 4. Exodus, the Civil War, and Reconstruction (1861–1877)
  2. pp. 83-111
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  1. 5. African Americans in the Nadir (1877–1900)
  2. pp. 113-141
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  1. Afterword: The First Joshua Generation, Stranded on the Border of Canaan (1895–1903)
  2. pp. 143-159
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 161-174
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 175-190
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  1. Credits
  2. pp. 191-205
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  1. Scripture Index
  2. pp. 193-194
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 195-199
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