Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > Acquiescence and Dissent: Slave Religion and Conjure in the Antebellum South
pdf

The supernatural landscape that Livermore, a Massachusetts journalist, encountered in the Southern United States in the 19th century, in which a black man commanded authority as both a Christian preacher and one who was able to communicate with “evil spirits,” was by no means abnormal. Rather, this anecdote represents an important aspect of black American spirituality that transcended both space and time to unite enslaved Africans across the South. This thesis revolves around the ways in which black Americans in the antebellum period interacted with religion and the supernatural in an attempt to empower themselves amidst the horrors of the slave society. It is intended to serve as a contribution to the study of the slave experience in the South as well as an example of the adaptable nature of religion and the tenacity of the human spirit.