I watched Mississippi Burning last night. Very cool movie IMHO.
At one point one of the characters said that, as a Mississipian, she had been taught that segregation was supported by the Bible and gave a reference (Genesis something I think). I do not own a Bible so I could not look it up there and then. Does anybody know the passage?
I think what you mean is “black folks being enslaved is supported by the Bible,” rather than just simply “segregation”.
I may be off-base here, but IIRC the following passage may be the one. I think the reasoning goes, according to 19th century racist theory, that after the Flood each son went forth to found a race, with one of them being black, one white, one yellow, etc. Evidently “Ham” or his son “Canaan” was interpreted by these people as being “the black race”, some researchers having supposedly traced them back to Ethiopia. But I’m not sure what the actual train of thought or scientific “proof” was.
The character in the movie definitly mentioned segregation but since this essentially grew out of earlier slavery I would guess the ‘justification’ for one would serve for the other. If I can find somebody with it on tape I will check the chapter/verse but I suspect you have it.
This might also be referring to the Mark of Cain, mentioned in Genesis 4:15. Some folks have claimed that the mark of Cain was black skin, and that blacks are therefore evil, but there’s even less to support this than there is for the ham story: The mark is said to be put just on Cain, without mention of his decendents, and its purpose was to keep folks from killing him, not to enslave him.
Well, amongst the sons of Ham were Mitzrayim, which is known to be the biblical name of Egypt, and and Cush, which is known to be the biblical name for Ethiopia, so people probably extrapolated from that that all of Ham’s sons settled somewhere in Africa. Then again, Canaan was the name that the Bible uses for the land now known as Israel prior to the Israelites settling it, so I don’t think that that extrapolation makes much sense.
I did a web search and found this page with a quote from a PBS documentary of an Alabama woman in 1959 saying “I find my evidence for segregation in Genesis 9, where God sent the sons of Noah out over the earth”. The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 has probably also been used as a basis for segregation.
Arabic is closely related to Hebrew, which is (I presume, I don’t know much Arabic) why Misr (Arabic name for Egypt) and Mitzrayim (Hebrew name for Egypt) are so similar.
The Hebrew root (Tz-R) actually means narrows or straits, constricted; and it was fairly natural to associate such a word with Egypt, a narrow land along the River Nile. The Yiddish word Tsooris comes from this Hebrew root as well; tsooris means troubles, but the etymology is from being restricted or constrained.