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By Albert J. Raboteau

"A hearth within the Bones is greater than a historical past of black Christians: it's the compelling tale of the ways that black folks have grew to become to Christianity to explain their historical past and plight in the USA and to undertaking their imaginative and prescient of redemption to the higher kingdom . . . A needs to read." --Craig Steven Wilder, big apple Newsday "A significant contribution . . . superbly narrated." --Rembert Weakland, the recent York occasions publication evaluate

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I encourage the reader to imagine this book as a quilt stitched Page xi together of separate pieces that fit, I trust, into an overall pattern. " All have in common my attempt to be faithful to the voices of African-American narrators as I heard them speak through historical documents of various sorts about the meaning(s) of black experience in America. I am convinced that their voices convey a treasury of wisdom and humanity we stand in sore need of hearing. I owe thanks to my colleague and friend David Wills for perceptive readings and wise counsel "as always," to my editor at Beacon, Deb Chasman, for proposing and gracefully nurturing this project, and to all those whose invitations prompted these essays.

Moreover, argues Morgan, the two themes are so intertwined that the story of America should be seen as the progression of an ongoing paradox, the paradox of American freedom and American slavery. 4 Over the past two decades, historians have come to realize that if history is to be an adequate story of people who lived in the past, it needs to tell the stories of all. It is not enough to concentrate upon elites or upon the exercise of power, upon wars and generals, or for that matter, councils and bishops.

It is mortifying now to think that his comprehension was not equal to the African in- Page 28 tellect.  . But they interpreted it literally in the good time coming, which of course could not but make their ebony complexion attractive, very. 12 What the preacher was describing was the end of a long process, spanning almost two hundred and fifty years, by which slaves came to accept the gospel of Christianity. But the slaves did not simply become Christians; they fashioned Christianity to fit their own peculiar experience of enslavement in America.

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