Did They Know?

Every sabbath one of the things my and I family do is watch historical and biblical documentaries and movies. The object is to be more educated about our history as chosen, black, and human. Likewise, we interpret the incomplete and incorrect histories with the intelligence given to us by the Word.

This helps us form educated opinions about who we are and how we are to move forward.

So, for the past two shabbats, we watched the PBS Civil War docuseries, Ken Burns: The Civil War. Although I admit, I slept through some of it. Still, it was a very interesting, unbiased, and informative production. On several occasions, it recites the words of those who experienced the Civil War first-hand and there were multiple references that seem to infer that the slave class of America was known to be or identified with the chosen people of God.

At one point the major players and politicians, including Abraham Lincoln himself, acknowledged that the entire country was being judged for the slavery of our people, and while both sides (Union and Confederate) fought for what they believed was God’s will (which was for each to reign over Native’s lands), God used them to bring recompense on themselves for what they had done to His children. This Historian says it better…

This wasn’t the most curious of the written words of the Civil War participants. Later, in the 1865 episode, the words of one, W. T. Sherman made a similar but more direct point. He calls the slaves “the congregation”, suggesting that they are those once led out of slavery by Moses and Aaron, to whom he compared himself in their eyes during the 1864-1865 Exodus to which he refers.

Here’s the letter Sherman wrote in response to Major_General Halleck’s plea to him to assist the Negroes to avoid them fighting with Confederate forces against the Union and allegations that he left negroes to be killed by taking out the bridge that provided access to Savannah Georgia, the ‘great place of refuge’.[1]

The War of the Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies – United States. War Department[2]

Still, in another instance, a former slave is recorded as referring to Abraham Lincoln as Father Abraham reincarnated. However misguided, this slave also associated himself with the people of the Bible.

The most interesting discovery came when I sought out the reference for W. T. Sherman’s quote. I found a compilation of Civil War correspondences titled The War of Rebellion.

I always knew there was much that I and many others did not understand about that war, but Mr. Sherman’s letter reveals a missing piece (perhaps one of many) to the puzzle.

In his letter, Mr. Sherman reveals that the North’s beef with the South was that the South was wielding power over them that was possible because of the Negro and cotton. Their fear was that the South, because of the Negro, or the Negroes themselves would govern over the Union North, which we now know as the United States. Their remedy was to free the Negroes, thus extinguishing the Negroes as a threat to their power. Contrarily, the Negroes would fight to the benefit of the Union.

This makes perfect sense as Abraham Lincoln himself was quoted saying his concern wasn’t with slavery or the South’s slaves, but the preservation of the Union. Like, Lincoln, Sherman sees the Negroes as a means to an end. He says we need them and they need us. He asserts, in his letter, that the Union and ‘Sambo’ (mixed race ‘blacks’) were interdependent for safety.

See, it seems that everyone knew, or at least made a connection between our ancestors and the people fo the bible. Despite this, neither side fought for our freedom but to maintain power which was dependent upon our ancestors, rather free or slave. On one hand, keeping us enslaved gave the South power. On the hand, setting us free extended the reach and longevity of the North’s power. Besides, as Sherman suggests our ancestors’ perception of him was, we would become victims of ‘a new species of slavery’ anyway!

Nonetheless, the common sentiment of that era was that Yahuwah used this event- a battle for power that resulted in the unintended consequence of emancipation and recompense. In case you didn’t know, the Civil War was the second deadliest of any war ever fought by Americans.

Point is, this sounds like a story right out of the bible. It’s very reminiscent of the bible prophecy of both testaments and the PBS special brings those prophecies to life.

More importantly, as is usually the case, it seems earlier generations were more woke than this one – blacks and whites alike. A result of them taking scripture more seriously than most do today. It caused them to see the world through biblical lenses – despite how misguided or misinformed they may have been. This would certainly have caused them to make the connection between their ‘Sambo’ and the Israelitish descendants.

So, should you ever doubt your identity despite the biblical history that affirms us, all you have to do is look at recent history and find yourself and your truth in it. It too will lead you back to the Word!

References:

[1]Letter from H. W. Halleck to W.T. Sherman: United States. War Department. (18801901). The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Washington: Govt. Digital; https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c035412865;view=1up;seq=860

[2] Response from W.T. Sherman to Major-General Halleck: United States. War Department. (18801901). The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Washington: Govt. DIGITAL: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924085376618;view=1up;seq=38

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