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“Black and Slave: the Origins and History of the Curse of Ham,” in The Bible and Interpretation, August 2017

Black and Slave: the Origins and History of the Curse of Ham
The idea that blackness and slavery were inescapably joined and that the Bible thus consigned
blacks to everlasting servitude had its most notorious manifestation in antebellum America,
where it provided biblical validation for sustaining the slave system.
See Also: Black and Slave (De Gruyter, 2017).
By David M. Goldenberg
University of Pennsylvania (ret.)
August 2017
Genesis 9: 20-25 tells the story of how a drunken Noah accidentally exposed himself, his son
Ham sinfully looked at him, and as punishment Noah cursed Ham’s son Canaan with servitude
(“A servant of servants he shall be to his brothers”). Over time, this story was understood to say
that black skin was part of the curse, the so-called “Curse of Ham. The idea that blackness and
slavery were inescapably joined and that the Bible thus consigned blacks to everlasting servitude
had its most notorious manifestation in antebellum America, where it provided biblical
validation for sustaining the slave system. My work over the past two decades has been an
attempt to unravel this misinterpretation and its applications through time and place.
Almost fifteen years ago I wrote a book examining biblical views of the black African seeking to
understand how this biblical interpretation developed (Goldenberg, Curse of Ham). I have now
completed a different book on the Curse of Ham, this time examining the etiological origins of
the Curse, showing how a myth explaining the origin of black skin morphed into the exegetical
justification for black slavery (Goldenberg, Black and Slave). What follows is a summary of
some of the key arguments of the two books.
The Bible says nothing about skin color in the story of Noah, but this feature was somehow
woven into the biblical text. An indication of the prominence this feature held in the minds of
many can be seen in Fidel Castro’s recollection of the story as taught to him as a youth:
Noah cultivated a vineyard, grapes, produced wine and drank a little too much. One of his
sons mocked him, and Noah cursed him and condemned him to be black [negro]. It is one
of the things in the Bible that I think someday the Church should change, because it
seems that being black is a punishment from God (Castro, 75-76).
Castro’s version is not by any means exceptional. The introduction of black skin color into
Noah’s curse has a long history. Since, according to the Bible, the curse was one of slavery, the
joining of skin color to Noah’s curse of slavery had a profound effect, for it served to justify
black slavery for many centuries. In 1848, the American anti-slavery minister John G. Fee wrote
that Ham was made black “by the curse of the Almighty,” and he succinctly described that effect,
which was commonly believed in his time: “God designed the Negroes to be slaves (Fee,
Sinfulness of Slaveholding, 16; Anti-Slavery Manual, 19). And not only in his time. The belief in
the Curse of Ham continued well into the 20th century. James Baldwin, the African-American
writer, wrote: “I knew that, according to many Christians, I was a descendant of Ham, who had
been cursed, and that I was therefore predestined to be a slave” (Baldwin, The Fire Next Time,
45-46). Just recently the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix on June 13-14 felt it
necessary to pass a resolution that “Whereas, the roots of White supremacy within a ‘Christian
context is based on the so-called curse of Ham theory…. which provided the theological
justification for slavery and segregation. The SBC officially renounces the “curse of Ham”
theory in this Resolution” (
It didn’t matter whether one supported the institution of black slavery or not, or whether one was
black or not; everyone seemed to believe in the truth of Ham’s blackness. As Edward Blyden, a
Black scholar, clergyman, and statesman, wrote in 1869: “It is not to be doubted that from the
earliest ages the black complexion of some of the descendants of Noah was known. Ham, it
would seem, was of a complexion darker than that of his brothers (Blyden, 75). In a study of
the mythic world of the antebellum South vis-à-vis blacks, Thomas Peterson showed that the
notion of blacks as “the children of Ham” was a well-entrenched belief: “White southern
Christians overwhelmingly thought that Ham was the aboriginal black man” (Peterson, 42, 45-
47, 149; quotation from 102). Why should that be the case? Even putting aside for the moment
the fact that according to the Bible it was Canaan, not Ham, who was cursed, why was Ham
identified with black Africa? Why the persistent, centuries-long identification of Ham with the
black African?
According to biblical genealogy one of Ham’s four sons was Kush, a name long associated with
the area in Africa south of Egypt in both ancient Near Eastern literature and the Bible (e.g.,
Ezekiel 29:10). Consider the famous line from Jeremiah (13:23), “Can the Kushite change his
skin?” referring to the dark-skinned African. Also reflecting this association is the Greek
translation of the Hebrew Bible, in which the term Kush(ite) was rendered as Ethiopia(n), the
traditional etymology of which is ‘burnt face,’ i.e., dark skinned. But is Kush’s African location
enough of a reason to consider Ham a black African? After all, Kush wasn’t Ham’s only son.
Egypt, Put and Canaan were also sons of Ham. Furthermore there is general scholarly agreement
that most, if not all, of Kush’s descendants listed in the biblical Table of Nations in Gen 10:7
(and 1 Chronicles 1:9) correspond to names of peoples who inhabited areas not in Africa, but in
the southern and southwestern parts of the Arabian peninsula.
No doubt the most powerful reason for assuming Ham’s blackness lies in etymology. The name
Ham was understood to be related to the Hebrew word for ‘black’ or ‘brown,’ and thus indicated
associations with the black African. James A. Sloan, a Presbyterian minister, put it this way in
1857: “Ham’s name means ‘Black’…. There must, then, have been some peculiarity of color in
the skin of Ham, which caused his father to give him the name which he received” (Sloan, 60).
A second etymological quirk deepened the identity of Ham as a black man, for the Hebrew name
Ham also meant ‘hot,’ or so it was believed. And weren’t the blacks situated in the hot countries
of Africa? These arguments from etymology are commonly cited in the literature of that time.
Indeed, “almost every Southern writer on the Ham myth” used the philological argument that
Ham meant ‘black,’ ‘dark,’ and ‘hot’ (Peterson, 43).
If these etymological assumptions are correct it may indeed imply that the ancient Israelites saw
a connection between black Africans and slavery. But recent research has shown conclusively
that there is no etymological relationship between the name Ham and the meanings ‘black,’
‘dark,’ and ‘hot.’ Nevertheless, by the early centuries of the Common Era, it was believed that
there was, that the name Ham was related etymologically to the Hebrew root having those
meanings. (Goldenberg, Curse of Ham, 141-156)
Etymology, then, as incorrect as it was, thus provided fertile ground for the later development of
the Curse of Ham idea associating black skin with slavery. Exegesis does not occur in an
historical vacuum, and it is no wonder that the Curse of Ham was used to justify the existing
phenomenon of black slavery. But there is more to the story than etymology and historical
Formally the Curse is an origins myth (‘etiology’) explaining the existence of black slavery. The
examples quoted above from the American South combine two separate etiologies, one of black
skin and one of slavery: with Noah’s curse of slavery the one cursed turned black. But not
always are the two etiologies combined. We can see this in the earliest evidence of an explicit
link between blacks and slavery in the context of the Noah story. This is found in the Syriac
Christian work known as the Cave of Treasures, dating in its present form from the 6th-7th
century at the latest, but originally going back to the 3rd or 4th century. Expanding on the
biblical story, the work explains that Canaan’s “descendants were reduced to slavery, and they
are the Egyptians, the Mysiens (musaye), the Kushites, the Indians, and the abominable ones
(musraye)” (Ri, 62-63). The ones cursed with slavery are dark-skinned peoples, a point made
clear in the Arabic version (around 750 CE) of the work, which expands Canaan’s descendants to
include all blacks:
[Noah] was angry with Ham and said, “Let Canaan be cursed, and let him be a slave to
his brothers…. [Noah] increased in his curse of Canaan. Therefore his sons became
slaves. They are the Copts, the Kushites, the Indians, the Musin (mūsīn), and all the other
blacks (sūdān).
Similarly, in the later Ethiopic version: “…. they are the Egyptians, the Kuerbawiens, the
Indians, the Mosirawiens, the Ethiopians, and all those whose skin color is black (Goldenberg,
Black and Slave, 76-78).
What is notable here is that although we see for the first time the explicit association of
blackness with servitude in the context of the Noah story, black skin does not originate in the
story. Rather, blacks are assumed to be the ones descended from Canaan who was cursed with
slavery. A link between Canaan and blacks (independent of any connection to the story of Noah
and contrary to the Bible’s genealogy) is found commonly in Islamic literature attributed to
authorities from the early 7th century onward, and has antecedents even earlier in ancient Near
Eastern sources (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 78-81). But, again, what is of concern here is that
the black-slave connection as part of Noah’s curse does not include the genesis of blackness in
the curse.
So how did the etiology of black skin enter the picture? In a world of lighter-skinned people the
skin color of the black African required an explanation. In ancient Greece one explanation told
that Phaethon, son of the god Helios brought the sun chariot too close to the earth. “It was then,
as men think, that the peoples of Aethiopia became black-skinned” (Ovid, Metamorphoses
2.235-236; Strabo 15.1.24). Another Greek etiological myth accounted for the dark skin of
Egyptians as well as Ethiopians. Zeus disguised himself by becoming black and seduced Io,
from which union the black Africans and Egyptians descended (Goldenberg, Curse of Ham,
Such mythic explanations are common across time and place. A story of the Creek (Muscogee)
Indians of Southeastern United States tells that three people bathed in a pond. The first emerged
completely clean and he was the ancestor of white people. The second came out darker because
the water was by now a bit dirty. From him came the Native Americans. By the time the third
person got to the pond the water was quite dirty and the person emerged black. He became the
ancestor of the Africans (Swanton, 74-75).
In many of these etiologies the origin of the unusual skin color is the result of some ancestral sin
or misbehavior, thus implying a negative value judgment of that color. The Greek myth attributes
dark skin to Phaethon’s arrogance in assuming that he could control the chariot of the sun; he
couldn’t and lost control over Africa, thus darkening the Africans. Nor did black African
etiologies of light-skinned people express a different attitude. Veronika Görög-Karady studied
the various skin-color etiologies of the Vili in the Congo and concluded: “The texts thus manifest
a fundamental ethnocentrism…. The black constitutes the prototype of humanity from which all
the ‘races’ have issued…. The thematic nucleus of the majority of these Vili texts consists of a
fault or misdeed imputed to the ancestor or one of the ancestors and to which the deviation of
humanity issues directly [….] The racial differentiation flows directly from the nature of the
crime…. The transformation of skin color appears as the punishment for an evil action…. All
these texts affirm the culpability and justified mythic damnation of the white ancestor” (Görög-
Karady, 2:82-83, 88-89). Or, as Lawrence Levine wrote concerning skin color etiologies told by
African-American slaves, “Black slaves, then, possessed their own form of racial ethnocentrism
and were capable of viewing the white race as a degenerate form of the black (Levine, 85). In
both light-skinned and dark-skinned societies, ethnocentric-driven folktales saw the origin of
‘non-normal’ skin color in divine punishment for disobedience. Only the colors are reversed.
These value judgments are ethnocentric expressions of conformism to the dominant aesthetic
taste, what social scientists call “somatic norm preference,” that is, a bias for the society’s normal
In biblically-centered societies it would not be surprising to find skin-color etiologies constructed
around characters or events found in the Bible. A medieval example of a dark-skin etiology using
biblical characters is found in the Christian Vienna Genesis, an anonymous, 11th- or early 12th-
century German poetic paraphrase of Genesis. Adam’s offspring through the line of Cain, we are
told, disobeyed Adam’s command to avoid certain plants, and as a consequence some of their
completely lost their beautiful coloring; they became black and disgusting, and unlike
any people.... [They] displayed on their bodies what the forebears had earned by their
misdeeds. As the fathers had been inwardly, so the children were outwardly (Friedman,
93; Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 33).
A Jewish etiology on the origin of black skin is found in a rabbinic source redacted before the
mid-6th century, in the name of authorities of the 3rd-4th centuries. God prohibited Noah’s
family and all the creatures in the ark from engaging in sex during the flood, but Noah’s son
Ham, the dog, and the raven transgressed the prohibition and had sexual relations with their
respective partners. Playing on the assumed etymology of Ham, the story claims that Ham turned
black as punishment for his sin (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b; Goldenberg, Curse of
Ham, 102-107, 186-187). In addition to the Jewish source, this sex-in-the-ark story is commonly
found in Muslim sources, and in, at least, one Christian source from the East (Isho`dad). We also
find it in Christian literature from the West beginning in the 13th century.
Another group of etiologies of blackness found in the Near East is more closely set within the
narrative framework of the biblical story of Noah’s curse, except that the curse is not one of
slavery, as in the Bible, but of black skin. This etiology of black skin as punishment for looking
at Noah’s nakedness is found with various elaborations across the Muslim East from an early
period to modern times. Sometimes the story is incorporated into a larger narrative framework
and sometimes merely alluded to. The core of them all is Noah’s cursing of Ham with blackness
as punishment for looking at his father’s nakedness.
The earliest to record this account of black origins is attributed to Ibn Mas`ūd (d. 653), a
companion of Muammad, the prophet of Islam, as quoted by Ibn akim (d. 1014/15). As is
common in the Muslim versions, Noah, considered a prophet in Islam, does not get drunk, since
drinking alcohol is prohibited in Islam. In Ibn Mas`ūd’s version Noah’s nakedness is due to his
taking a bath.
Noah was bathing and saw his son [Ham] looking at him and said to him, ‘Are you
watching me bathe? May God change your color!’ And he is the ancestor of the sūdān
[i.e., blacks]. (Hunwick and Harrak, 30-31).
The etiological tradition of black skin deriving from Noah’s curse of Ham was common in the
Muslim world. And it continued well into modern times. At the beginning of the 20th century,
the Finnish sociologist and anthropologist Edward Westermark recorded a modern-day
Moroccan proverb: “The negroes are wicked people. They have become black in consequence of
the curse which Sīdan Nōḥ (Noah) pronounced upon his son Ham, their ancestor” (Westermark,
In these black-skin stories there is no mention of slavery. In other words, we do not yet see a
Curse of Ham combining blackness and slavery. However, with the Muslim conquests in Africa
and the consequent increase of black slaves in the Near East, the story of Noah takes a new turn.
The one cursed with slavery is no longer merely said to be the ancestor of blacks, as in the Syriac
Cave of Treasures. Black skin is now said to be part of Noah’s curse. This expansion of the
biblical narrative is found across a range of Islamic literature, most commonly in histories, but
also in the Tales of the Prophets (qisas al-anbiyā) genre. In the Tales of the Prophets, it appears
in al-Kisāʾī’s version. Kisāʾī, whose identity and dates are uncertain, records the tradition
anonymously (“it is said”):
[A] gust of wind uncovered Noah’s genitals; Ham laughed…. When Noah awoke he
asked, “What was the laughter?… Do you laugh at your father’s genitals?... “May God
change your complexion and may your face turn black!” And that very instant his face
did turn black.... “May He make bondswomen and slaves of Ham’s progeny until the Day
of Resurrection!” (Eisenberg, 1923, 99; (Thackston, 1978, 105).
The Muslim tradition of a dual curse of blackness and slavery was widespread over many
centuries and continued even into modern times (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 89-94).
It is not difficult to imagine why the hermeneutic development of a dual curse occurred when
and where it did. Exegetical manipulation does not happen in an historical vacuum. It is not
coincidental that precisely at the time when the dual curse begins to make an appearance we can
trace a dramatic increase in the enslavement of black Africans. Black slavery can be documented
as far back as the third millenium BCE and well into the first several centuries of the Common
Era. After the Muslim conquests in Africa in the mid-7th century, the appearance of black slaves
and the black slave trade increased exponentially. Indicative is the exportation of the Zanj to
Muslim lands. The word ‘Zanj’ is apparently related to ‘Azania,’ the name given to the stretch of
the East African coast from the horn of Africa in the north to the island of Zanzibar (whose first
element is similarly related to ‘Zanj’) in the south. Thousands of Zanj inhabitants were enslaved
by the Muslim rulers and shipped to Iraq to work in the salt marshes of the Tigris-Euphrates
delta. In the 8th century the Abbasid caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd observed that the number of black
slaves in Baghdad was countless. We hear about the Zanj when they arose in the first of three
rebellions in 689, although we don’t know when they were initially shipped to Iraq. (Goldenberg,
Black and Slave, 96)
The use of forced African labor for large-scale projects is reported for later periods as well, in
agricultural projects and as laborers in quarries and the gold mines of the Sahara. Timothy Power
mentions several cases documenting the Arab slave trade out of East Africa during the 7th-9th
centuries, often to maintain slave armies, which “created a massive increase in the demand for
African slaves(Power, 92, 95, 135-138, 141-142, 146, 157-158).
There is no question that the Islamic conquest of parts of Africa, beginning with Egypt in 640/1,
brought in its wake a continuous and large supply of slaves. In these early centuries of Islam,
al-Nūba became almost synonymous with ‘black slaves,’ because of the vast number of slaves
bought from Bilād al-Sūdān [i.e., the country of the blacks], which includes Bilād al-Nūba
(asan, 8). Military conquest was followed by development of a black slave trade, thus
instituting the commercialization of African slavery on a regular basis.
A particular feature of Islamic law encouraged these developments, for Islam prohibited taking
slaves from Muslim lands. As a result, as more and more African lands fell under the banner of
Islam, holy wars were pushed further to the frontiers and slaves were taken from non-Muslim
areas. Since there was a continual need to replenish the “incessant demand for slaves,” in the
words of Claude Meillassoux, and since sub-Saharan Africa was not yet Muslim, “black Africa
[became] an important source of slaves for the Islamic world” (Meillassoux, 349n21; Lovejoy,
The Arab development of the African slave trade occurred also in North and West Africa in
addition to areas south of Egypt. In a recent well-researched study, John Wright discussed the
Arab slave-trade across Africa over time, beginning with the 7th-century conquests and the trans-
Saharan trade routes. “For the medieval Islamic world, inner Africa became almost synonymous
with, and a legitimate source of slaves. Existing practices of enslavement, slavery and slave-
dealing all tended to expand in the Sudan under the stimulus of this external, and seemingly
insatiable, demand as they were later to respond in West Africa to the demands of the Atlantic
trade” (Wright, 17-18). Wright notes that as more African states became Islamized, the slave
raiding moved further south to pagan territories. In addition, pockets of pagan Africans within
the Dar al-Islam were also raided, and “some pagan peoples were deliberately not converted to
Islam simply to maintain their eligibility for enslavement (Wright, 21-22). The ongoing
enslavement of black Africans in the Muslim world explains why the Arabic word for slave,
abd, eventually came to mean ‘black African,’ whether slave or not (Lewis, 112).
Certainly, the historical-social context of black slavery was influential in the development of the
dual Curse of Ham. Context allows for creation of the new. But how is the new created? What
were the building blocks from which the dual Curse was fashioned? The dual Curse consists of a
curse of slavery and a curse of black skin pronounced by Noah as punishment for Ham’s crime.
The curse of slavery is, of course, found in the Bible, and Noah’s curse of blackness apparently
derived from the common Muslim black-skin etiologies mentioned above.
An indication that this is so is seen by a consideration of the differences between the Muslim and
Jewish/Christian versions of the Curse of Ham. The Muslim writers all put the dual curse on
Ham, while the Jewish and Christian authors generally see Canaan as the one who was cursed,
even if Ham was also affected by the curse on Canaan. It seems that the Christian and Jewish
Canaan-based Curse drew on the ancient Near Eastern genealogy linking Canaan with blacks
while the Muslim Ham-based Curse derived from the earlier Muslim etiologies of black skin as
Ham’s punishment for looking at Noah’s nakedness. The Muslim conquests in Africa with the
resulting increase in African enslavement transformed the black-skin etiologies into etiologies of
black slavery in the form of a dual curse, in which black skin was believed to be part of Noah’s
curse of slavery (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 199-200).
In sum, the new dual-curse interpretation of the Noah story seems to have evolved out of the
earlier Muslim dark-skin etiologies. With the conquests in Africa and the increase in black
slavery, those etiologies were now joined to the story of Noah’s curse of slavery. The close
connection between the two etiologies is shown by the shared idea of a curse of blackness and by
the common character of Ham, who received the curse.
It is important to realize the nature of a dual curse. As opposed to seeing blacks as the
descendants of the one cursed with slavery, as in the Syriac Cave of Treasures (“… and his
descendants were reduced to slavery, and they are the Egyptians, the Kushites, the Indians, and
the Musraye”), a dual curse more profoundly and more insidiously ties blackness to servitude,
for dark skin is now either a result of the curse of slavery or occurs with it as part of the curse.
Dark skin is no longer merely associated with slavery. It has now become an intentional marker
of servitude. The divine approval for the social order of black slavery is no longer implicit; it has
become explicit in a most visibly forceful way (“May God change your complexion and may
your face turn black!”). This change in the nature of the Curse is a result of the conquest of
Africa, the increasing enslavement of blacks, and the consequent disparagement of dark skin.
The same evolution of the dual Curse of Ham occurred in the Christian West. From the East, the
Curse of Ham made its way to the West by means of the Muslim cultural and commercial
influences on Christian Europe. It appeared first in the 12th century in the Iberian Peninsula, and
from there spread elsewhere in Europe (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 105-120). But these
instances of the Curse were not of the dual curse variety. They were said to affect blacks but they
were not considered to be the origin of black skin. That changed in the 16th century when we
begin to see a new development, the dual form of the Curse, in which blackness is joined with
servitude. The preponderance of this form of the Curse continued in Europe, and even in Africa
via Christian missionaries (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 121-135, 139-145).
In the West the Curse of Ham in general, and the dual curse in particular, became well-accepted
components of Christian biblical interpretation, and, hence, world-view. And just as the dual
curse was a product of the development of black slavery in the Muslim East, so too in the
Christian West the dual curse coincided with the expansion of black slavery, and for the same
reasons: it more profoundly connected slavery with black skin as the very marker of servitude,
the visible sign of the blacks’ degradation, and in the process deprecating black skin itself. Not
surprisingly this usage coincided with and reflected the development of black slavery and the
consequent disparagement of the black African. Denigration of the black is reflected in and
strengthened by the dual curse, in which black skin was seen as the intentional mark of servitude
(Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 136-139).
From Europe the Curse of Ham came to British colonial America, where it was used to justify
black slavery as early as 1700 and continued well into the 20th century. As in Europe, in
America too the dual-curse version was common, and as in Europe the popularity of the dual
curse was a reflection of the increasing debasement of black skin. There is, however, a
significant difference between Europe and America. The percentage of those resorting to the
Curse to justify black slavery as opposed to explaining the origin of dark skin is much greater in
America than in Europe. The role of black slavery in America, and the importance of biblical
justifications for it, are clearly reflected in these differences (Goldenberg, Black and Slave, 146-
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This study compared 2000 and 2010 data on the religious beliefs about HIV/AIDS among those with HIV in a Deep South state. The percentage agreeing that HIV/AIDS is a punishment from God had not decreased in that decade. The literature on interventions to reduce religious stigma and increase church involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention was presented. The study concluded with a set of recommendations for future research.
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One of the many benefits for me of Ben Isaac's new book, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton, 2008), was that it spurred me to do some fundamental rethinking about the definition of racism. It is not only Isaac's extensive introduction on the definition of terms, or his distinction of and preference for the term proto-racism, or even his delineation of (to use his terminology) the hostile thinking against others found in Greek and Roman writers. It is also what is not in the book that has spurred my thinking. For Isaac does not discuss black Africans, the one group for which, in our time, the term racism is most closely associated. Isaac gives his reasons for this exclusion (pp. 49-50), but as I thought about it, I began to realize that anti-Black racism is of an entirely different sort than the racism that is discussed in the book. I can do no better in illustrating this than by quoting David Wiesen's 1970 article on "Juvenal and the Blacks." There is no doubt, says Wiesen, that Juvenal was strongly biased against the outsider. But there is a difference. Greeks, Orientals, Egyptians – they are all hated for their foreign ways and their potential to corrupt Roman culture. Blacks, on the hand, are hated not for what they do, but for what they are; "it is their physical being that Juvenal despises." 1 Now, of course, we must ask to what extent Juvenal represents general attitudes, but Wiesen is convincing in arguing that a satirist would not expect his work to be accepted were he not echoing general attitudes among his readers. It seems to me that the distinction between Blacks (or Ethiopians, as they are known in Greco-Roman sources) and others that Wiesen makes is important. Yes, the environmental theory held that Blacks were innately cowards, but generally speaking, it is the Blacks' physical being, and in particular their skin color, that is found objectionable, not their customs or what was believed to be their innate characteristics. Syrians and Asians are born for slavery; they are effeminate and servile. Phoenicians are cheats and faithless. Greeks are soft, degenerate and morally inferior; they are not virile or courageous. And so on, for other foreigners. All these characteristics are non-physical characteristics, whereas the objections to the Blacks are, for the most part, based on physical characteristics of the body, their hair, lips, nose, but especially their skin color.
This compelling text sheds light on the important but under studied trans-Saharan slave trade. The author uncovers and surveys this, the least-noticed of the slave trades out of Africa, which from the seventh to the twentieth centuries quielty delievered almost as many black Africans into foreign servitude as did the far busier, but much briefer Atlantic and East African trades. Illuminating for the first time a significant, but ignored subject, the book supports and widens current scholarly examination of Africans' essential role in the enslavement of fellow-Africans and their delivery to internal, Atlantic or trans-Saharan markets.
Mìrāj alṢùūd: Amad Bābā's Replies on Slavery
  • John Hunwick
  • Fatīma Harrak
Hunwick, John and Fatīma Harrak.Mìrāj alṢùūd: Amad Bābā's Replies on Slavery (Rabat, 2000)
The Negro in Ancient History
  • Edward Blyden
Blyden, Edward. "The Negro in Ancient History" The Methodist Quarterly Review (January, 1869)
An Anti-Slavery Manual Being an Examination, in the Light of the Bible, and of Facts, into the Moral and Social Wrongs of American Slavery
  • John G Fee
Fee, John G. An Anti-Slavery Manual Being an Examination, in the Light of the Bible, and of Facts, into the Moral and Social Wrongs of American Slavery, with a Remedy for the Evil (Maysville, Kentucky, 1848)