Douglass on Bibles for the Slaves

January 28, 1848

“Do they suppose that slaveholders, in open violation of their laws, will allow their slaves to have the Bible? How do they mean to get the Bible among the slaves?  It cannot go by itself – it must be carried….of what value is the Bible to one who cannot read its contents?” …. In speaking of those who want to distribute the Bible among slaves:  Douglass says,”… the immediate and only effect of their efforts must be to turn off attention from the main and only momentous connection with the slave, and absorb energy and money in giving to him the Bible, that ought to be used in giving him to himself.  …The slave is a thing – and it is the all-commanding duty of the American people to make him a man. …To demand less than this … to deceive the fettered bondman, and to soothe the conscience of the slaveholder on the very point where he should be most stung with remorse and shame….”

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