Synopses & Reviews
This landmark history of slavery in the South—a winner of the Bancroft Prize—challenged conventional views of slaves by illuminating the many forms of resistance to dehumanization that developed in slave society.
Rather than emphasizing the cruelty and degradation of slavery, historian Eugene Genovese investigates the ways that slaves forced their owners to acknowledge their humanity through culture, music, and religion. Not merely passive victims, the slaves in this account actively engaged with the paternalism of slaveholding culture in ways that supported their self-respect and aspirations for freedom. Roll, Jordan, Roll covers a vast range of subjects, from slave weddings and funerals, to the language, food, clothing, and labor of slaves, and places particular emphasis on religion as both a major battleground for psychological control and a paradoxical source of spiritual strength. Displaying keen insight into the minds of both slaves and slaveholders, Roll, Jordan, Roll is a testament to the power of the human spirit under conditions of extreme oppression.
A reevaluation of the master-slave relationship in American history.
Table of Contents
Book One: God is Not Mocked
Part 1. Of the Willing and the Obedient
Part 2. ...and the Children Brought Up
Book Two: The Rock and the Church
Part 1. Of the God of the Living
Part 2. ...and Every Man According as His Work Shall Be
Book Three: The Valley of the Shadow
Part 1. Of the Sons of Jacob
Part 2. ...and the Coat of Many Colors
Book Four: Whom God Hath Hedged In