'The Curse of Ham': Slavery and the Old Testament

The Book of Genesis records an instance of Noah cursing his son Ham's descendants to be slaves. Although there is no biblical evidence that Ham was the "father" of African peoples, various Jewish, Christian and Islamic writers came to believe that he was, and their association helped to justify centuries of African enslavement. NPR's Tavis Smiley talks to author David Goldenberg about his new book, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which looks at how a misinterpreted Bible story has been used to justify centuries of African slavery.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.