Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > Slaveholder Religiosity and African-American Religion in Antebellum Slave Narratives

Slave narratives tell stories of shared experiences of hope, disillusionment, joy and despair, experienced by members and descendants of the African diaspora who were subjected to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Those experiencing this shared yoke of bondage had varied responses, many of which clung to religious beliefs. Of those who clung to faith as their own response to slavery, a consistent pattern emerges in which authors present a division between the white southern slaveholder’s religiosity and their own personal and communal religion. The stark division that emerges in each of the five narratives discussed in this thesis emphasizes a critique by each author of what they deemed “false” slaveholder religiosity. Each author presents this religious division through compelling and complex personal evidence based upon differing convictions, beliefs, geographical location, moments of religious awakening, and time periods. This thesis will explore how each author presents his or her own method of coping with their realization of a disturbing division between slaveholder religiosity and their own religious beliefs in their narratives.