The Intersection of Slavery, Christianity, and Our Current Health
needed their souls to be healed from “impiety”.
In the 1800s, former slave Peter Randolph wrote about the type of religious teaching slaves were forced to ingest. The following is an excerpt from a document he wrote about the difference between White Christian teachings and Black spiritual education.
“‘Servants, obey your masters’. Do not steal or lie, for this is very wrong. Such conduct is sinning against the Holy Ghost, and is base ingratitude to your kind masters, who feed, clothe and protect you….”
These types of sermons were the crux of what was shared with Black people. There was little to no inclusion of 3 John: 2, which states “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” Scripture was being molded to fit White desires and to not only keep Black people oppressed but to make them complacent in such oppression.
Slave diets were also extremely poor. A piece by Jazz Keyes for Ebony shared that slaves were forced to piece together meals from scraps. This was not only detrimental to slaves’ physical health but their mental health as well. These meals and mindsets evolved into the soul food and sicknesses of today.
If you observe modern times, you will see that Black people are still being oppressed in multiple ways, and clinging to religion without digging deeper into spiritual wellness. Some Biblical texts are still being distorted (whether intentionally or unintentionally), ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor mental health (due to stress) are rampant within the church, and many are so deep in it that they don’t even realize what’s happening. It is our duty to educate one another so that we may break the chains, once and for all.
Brooklyn White is a writer with work published on Saint Heron, Teen Vogue, Bitch Media, HYPEBAE, Milk Makeup, HelloGiggles, and Fashionista