Exodus!: Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America
No other story in the Bible has fired the imaginations of African Americans quite like that of Exodus. Its tale of suffering and the journey to redemption offered hope and a sense of possibility to people facing seemingly insurmountable evil.
Exodus! shows how this biblical story inspired a pragmatic tradition of racial advocacy among African Americans in the early nineteenth century—a tradition based not on race but on a moral politics of respectability. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., begins by comparing the historical uses of Exodus by black and white Americans and the concepts of "nation" it generated. He then traces the roles that Exodus played in the National Negro Convention movement, from its first meeting in 1830 to 1843, when the convention decided—by one vote—against supporting Henry Highland Garnet's call for slave insurrection.
Exodus! reveals the deep historical roots of debates over African-American national identity that continue to rage today. It will engage anyone interested in the story of black nationalism and the promise of African-American religious culture.