Award-winning program maker Dr. Robert Beckford is the inspiration and narrator behind a new documentary entitled After The Flood: The Church, Slavery & Reconciliation, which will be officially launched at Bloomsbury Baptist Church on May 25, 2022. The public are invited to attend.
Commissioned by UK Charity, The Movement for Justice and Reconciliation (MJR), After The Flood: the Church, Slavery & Reconciliation unearths the Christian ideas that propped-up the Transatlantic Slave Trade and reveal strategies 21st Christians can implement to undo their impact and bring reconciliation.
The documentary reveals the lesser-known story of how the Church in the 18th century justified the enslavement of Africans and used the law to embed the supremacy of white slave-owners. It also explores the beliefs and attitudes that shaped this history and whose impact is still felt today. It touches on stories like, the “Curse of Ham”, the “King of Tars”, and the concepts of Christian slavery and reconciliation.
As recently as 2018, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement condemning “the Curse of Ham”, a story in the Bible misinterpreted by theologians and used to undergird the view of some, that God cursed Africans with black skin and slavery.
After the Flood: The Church, Slavery & Reconciliation also looks at the involvement of the UK church in slavery, how it helped to perpetuate racism, and outlines the contemporary impact of this unresolved history and how to move beyond it.
Contributors to After the Flood: The Church Slavery and Reconciliation include:
Travis Glasson – Professor of History, Temple College of Liberal Arts
Cord Whittaker – Professor of English, Wellesley College
Michael Goldenberg – Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Willie Jennings – Professor of Systematic Theology and African Studies, Yale Divinity School
Kathrine Gerbner – Professor of History, University of Minnesota
Pedro Welch – Emeritus Professor of Medical and Society History, UWI
Dr Toyin Agbetu – Community Activist, UK.
Dr. Elizabeth Henry – Former Racial Justice Advisor to the CofE
Miroslav Volf – Professor of Systematic Theology, Yale Divinity School.
Wale Hudson-Roberts – Racial Justice Enabler for the Baptist Union, GB
Clare Williams – Founder, Get Real
Leading figures from the Christian community have endorsed this documentary
Powerful, insightful, thought provoking, educational, challenging, empowering and liberating. A film that quite simply must be seen.Revd Les Isaac, President, Ascension Trust
This film represents a watershed moment for the church. The case for the wrongs of the transatlantic slave trade to be addressed through restitution leading to true reconciliation has been made. I commend this film as a must watch for every person.Bishop Mike Royal, General Secretary, Churches Together In England, CTE
Moving and brilliant. The scholarship, graphics, music and flow of narrative were spot on. I leave the experience both challenged and inspired to teach, preach and heal!Dr Eric Lewis Williams Smithsonian Institution, Curator of Religion for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Alton Bell, Chairman of MJR, said, “We commissioned, After the Flood, to raise awareness, amongst the Christian communities, of the legacies of The Transatlantic Slave Trade and 18th-century industrial exploitation. We want to achieve reconciliation, but we can’t have reconciliation without repairing the damages from the past.”
Dr. Robert Beckford said, “It’s important for the 21st-century church to revisit the role the 18th-century church played in perpetuating racist attitudes during black enslavement and providing a theological viewpoint in support of slavery. After the Flood: The Church Slavery and Reconciliation provides an insight into the theology prevalent when the Transatlantic Slave Trade was prominent. More importantly it aims to generate discussion on how the church can redress the impact of those teachings in order to encourage reconciliation and set the groundwork for reparations to the black communities left impoverished by the after-effects of slavery.”
Written by: Marcia Dixon