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Black Enlightenment - Essay Example

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Black Enlightenment Black Enlightenment, that spanned the 18th century for the most part, was one of the most progressive eras for the Black people in the history of America. Although slavery of Back people was established as a practice during the Black Enlightenment, yet Black intellectuals had started to question the justification of Black slavery using their knowledge and intellectual capabilities…
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"Black Enlightenment"

Download file to see previous pages The role of Black intellectuals in the era of Black Enlightenment is extraordinary. Some of the prominent Black intellectual of the time were Phillis Wheatley and Benjamin Benneker. Phillis Wheatley was like a role model not only for the African Americans but also for the White Americans. She had transformed from a slave into a highly confident, courageous, and intellectually enriched poet and analyst. Phillis Wheatley wrote a letter to an American Indian minister named Samson Occom in 1774. At that time, tensions between England and the American colonies had increased. In her letter, Phillis Wheatley expressed her desire and need for personal liberty, natural rights, and establishment of the divine order. She believed that emergence of order in Africa and Christianity would mutually result in termination of the Atlantic trade of slaves. “How well the cry for Liberty, and the reverse Disposition for the exercise of oppressive Power over others agree, I humbly think it does not require the Penetration of a Philosopher to determine” (Wheatley cited in Gates 1987 p. 77). ...
“decidedly negro” from his appearance, Benjamin Banneker mastered the Greek and Latin languages and alongside acquired good knowledge of French and German using his white neighbor’s library. Benjamin Banneker referred to the Declaration of Independence in these words holding Thomas Jefferson accountable for the continued existence of Black slavery in America, “You were then impressed with…the free possession of those blessings, to which you were entitled by nature; but, Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges. . . that you should at the Same time counteract His mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression” (Banneker cited in Wallenfeldt 2011 p. 24). Black Enlightenment was the age when Black people came to realize through personal experience and witnessing that if they establish close ties with religion and education, they can solve their problems and work toward establishing a respectable lifestyle for themselves on equal basis with the White Americans. Although Black intellectuals had to overcome a lot of obstacles and muster up a lot of courage to speak on national and international platforms, yet with their courage and determination, they took such measures that left a powerful effect on the psychology and understanding toward the Black people of the White Americans. Black churches were not only the places of spiritual rejuvenation and practice of religious festivals, but also serves as places of union for the Black community where they could share their experiences and give each other love and hope. To conclude, Black ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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