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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter explores the motivations for the use of the Christian Bible in distinctive temporal arcs within African American culture. Initially, the chapter acknowledges the oddity of an African American affinity with the Bible because that Bible was deployed to support the enslavement and perpetual exploitation of African descendants in the British colonies that later became the United States. Then, it articulates three reasons for the aforementioned affinity: the availability of the Bible (especially the King James Bible) to provide a language world for personal and collective expression; the versatility or pliability of the Bible in the imagination of African Americans as they repeatedly and creatively read their own identities through the struggles of the characters of the Bible; and the perceived persuasiveness of the Bible in some of the heated debates with which the larger US public has been engaged since its inception.

Keywords: typology, spirituals, blues, jazz, hip-hop, slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, Great Migration, civil rights

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