Spiritually Fortified Despite Adversity

Jacqueline Backett

This article is a Guest Post written by Jacqueline Blackett, author of Holistic Guide to Health and Self Awareness.

One of the most inspiring films I and millions of people globally have seen is Roots, by Alex Haley in 1977.

I watched the film for several nights in the sitting room in our Nurses’ home in Berkshire England. The room was packed to capacity with residents of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. That film was definitely a learning experience for many people.

Although some people simply wanted to see the film because of curiosity, several were shocked by its revelation. Many including white doctors were in tears. They saw the unimaginable suffering of one group of God’s children (Not race. The word race used to describe an ethnic grouping is a misnomer because God created one race- the human race).

That group of God’s people abducted from their land were found to be so spiritually fortified that despite intense suffering and sadness, they sang Negro spirituals which appeared to have lessened their burden mentally, emotionally and physically.

The film brought a greater understanding of black people. It educated people (including some black people) that slaves were captured in Africa and taken to a life of servitude. It therefore paved the way towards the unification of people of different racial and mental orientation, although we still have more to do in order to implement and practice diversity.

For me, Roots was the precursor to learning about spiritual awareness and the admirable passionate devotion of slaves. In 1791, slaves in Haiti under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture were victorious against the French army in what is still described as the worse defeat a super power had suffered at the hands of a slaves army. The spiritual leader of the slaves prayed with them for victory over their capturers. He then instructed them to fight intensely and not to be afraid of dying, because if they were killed in battle their souls would be returned to Africa, their spiritual home.

The logo of those responsible for the abolition of slavery was “Am I not a man and a brother?” That statement must have been perceived as ‘gospel truth’ by those whose daring act of bravery led to emancipation. Included are American activists, such as the Quakers and John Brown. British sympathisers such as Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, and Grenville Sharp. And lastly but of equal importance, the two exceptional freed slaves – Olaudah Equiano and Cugoana.

As a Christian I feel privileged to observe that, as the writer Donne aptly stated “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” Therefore it takes the combined effort of humanity to fight any form of injustice. Color, race or religious convictions are destructive distractions to true human compassion and spiritual fulfilment.

This article was contributed by Jacqueline Blackett.