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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The book of Psalms offers a means for African Americans—a people who have suffered oppression, enslavement, segregation, dislocation, and second class citizenry—to celebrate God in good and bad times and to express their angst and anguish in intimate fellowship with Him. This is evident, for example, in the narratives of William Anderson, Olaudah Equiano, and Sojourner Truth. Such narratives may provide critical insight into the origins of certain psalms, particularly those that arise from contexts of exile and oppression. This article examines the writings of a former African American slave named “colored Pompey,” whose story is taken from the writings of Peter Randolph, in relation to Psalm 137. It rereads Psalm 137 in light of the story of colored Pompey to show that this text is actually a protest psalm.

Keywords: Psalms, African Americans, enslavement, slave, colored Pompey, Peter Randolph, Psalm 137, protest

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