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Quakers and Abolition$
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Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038266

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038266.001.0001

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Quaker Evangelization in Early Barbados

Quaker Evangelization in Early Barbados

Forging a Path toward the Unknowable

(p.89) 6 Quaker Evangelization in Early Barbados
Quakers and Abolition

Kristen Block

University of Illinois Press

The island of Barbados was the Quakers' first American “Cradle of Truth.” Beginning in 1656, and throughout the 1660s, missionaries brought their simple faith in the Truth and Inward Light to the island, where significant numbers of wealthy slaveholding planters and merchants were “convinced,” lending the Society of Friends legitimacy and status in Barbados. This chapter first draws on historical context to explore how the nascent evangelization movement would have connected to Quakerism's evolving trends in theology and spiritual symbolism: from personal revelation to communal consensus, from the supremacy of the Inward Light to the supremacy of scriptures. Such context next considers a general overview of Africanist literature on religious and communal life, an exploration of the shared cultural constructs that might have drawn potential converts to their masters' society. Finally, it puts this knowledge to practice by imagining the circumstances that would have led to everyday spiritual interactions between enslaved members of Quaker households and their masters.

Keywords:   Barbados, Quakers, evangelization movement, Quakerism, Africanist literature, slaves, spiritual interaction

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