But blacks were also bolstered by their trust in a coming judgment at which slaveholders would receive recompense. Moses Grandy remembered how during violent thunderstorms whites hid between their feather beds, whereas slaves went outside and, lifting up their hands, thanked God that judgment day was coming at last."
It was, in the end, a confidence in a God who would set things right, either in this age or in the age to come. At age 90, Jane Simpson recalled, "I used to hear old slaves pray and ask God when would de bottom rail be de top rail, and I wondered what on earth, dey talkin' about. Dey was talkin' about when dey goin' to get from under bondage. 'Course I know now."
Mark Galli is the editor of Christianity Today. This article orginally appeared in Christian History. To prepare this article, Mr. Galli relied upon Albert J. Raboteau's Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution (Oxford, 1978) and Milton Sernett's Black Religion and American Evangelicalism (Scarecrow, 1975).