DURHAM, N.C. – Christianity is often cited as a foundation of hope for the enslaved in the South. Historic Stagville will present a free program on March 20 at 2 p.m., exploring that connection with Dr. Dan Fountain, director of Public History at Meredith College in Raleigh. Fountain’s recent book, “Slavery, Civil War, and Salvation: African American Slaves and Christianity, 1830-1870” challenges that conventional notion.
The book reviews the African American conversion experience and argues that only after emancipation did African Americans more consistently turn to Christianity. Research from surveys of religious behavior and 1930s WPA slave narratives led Fountain to conclude that Christianity as a central facet of African American life is largely post-bellum in origins.
This lecture will examine the significance of Christianity in the slave community during the Civil War and into the post-bellum period. It is the first in a series of programs and events at the site observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Historic Stagville was one of the largest plantations in the South, holding 30,000 acres and 900 slaves by 1860.
Civil War programming is planned throughout the museums and historic sites of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (www.nccivilwar150.com).
Light refreshments will be provided for the lecture program. For additional information call (919) 620-0120.
Historic Stagville is located at 5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham, N.C. 27712. It is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.
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