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Honoring the AncestorsAn African Cultural Interpretation of Black Religion and Literature$
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Donald H. Matthews

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199963997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199963997.001.0001

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An Analysis of All God’s Dangers Based on the Spirituals

An Analysis of All God’s Dangers Based on the Spirituals

(p.99) Five An Analysis of All God’s Dangers Based on the Spirituals
Honoring the Ancestors

Donald H. Matthews

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a critique of Nate Shaw's autobiography, All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw, within the context of the African American spirituals to demonstrate the disclosive power of a narrative interpretation that originates within the meaning system of African Americans. It examines black narrative experiences and their orientation to African American religion in which the themes and style of the spirituals are present, and which has been persistent in the everyday and crisis experiences of African Americans. It suggests that the spiritual functions as a mode or metaphor from the African American narrative experience that can be used to further understand black religion and culture. It also considers the oppressive nature of chattel slavery and racial discrimination within the context of the spirituals theology of African Americans. Finally, the chapter analyzes Toni Morrison's two novels, The Song of Solomon and Beloved, and their representation of African American religion and culture.

Keywords:   African American spirituals, All God's Dangers, Nate Shaw, African Americans, African American religion, black religion, black culture, Toni Morrison, The Song of Solomon, Beloved

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