Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

By Philip S. Foner; Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

110 THE STONE CUT OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN

John Jasper

John Jasper ( 1812-1901), one of the most popular preachers of the late nineteenth century, was born in slavery in Fluvanna County, Virginia. After his conversion in 1837, he gained fame as a preacher, especially of funeral sermons. During the Civil War, he preached to wounded soldiers in Confederate hospitals. Gaining his freedom at the end of the war with seventy-three cents in his pocket and forty-two dollars in debt, Jasper established his own congregation in Richmond.

Jasper received national notoriety for his sermon "The Sun Do Move," first preached around 1880 and delivered as many as 250 times. Disbelieving scientific pronouncements to the contrary, Jasper in earnest faith declared that the sun revolved around the earth. Jasper's sermons attracted large audiences of both blacks and whites. He drew upon a stock of unwritten sermons, repeated and extemporaneously altered to suit the occasion. "I don't get my sermons out of grammars and rhetorics," he told his listeners, "but the spirit of the Lord puts them in my mind and makes them burn in my soul." His sermons were generally short by the standards of the day, rarely exceeding fifty minutes, although "on extraordinary occasions he took no note of time," according to biographer William Hatcher.

The following sermon was delivered on Sunday afternoon, July 20, 1884. An observer later described the scene, as Jasper "mounted the pulpit with the dash of an athlete and tripped around the platform during the preliminaries with the air of a racer. A sense of triumph imparted to his face the triumphant glow." Taking Daniel 2:45 as his text, Jasper spins a story of the mighty but unrighteous who will be laid low by the great "stone cut out of the mountain" that has been rolling and growing from Nebuchadnezzar's times to the present. Jasper's sermon is often self- referential. Towards its conclusion, he responds to critics who denounced his sermons such as "The Sun Do Move" as the work of an "old fogey.

The text of the sermon appears in dialect (removed here), as transcribed by William E. Hatcher, in John Jasper: The Unmatched Negro Philosopher and Preacher ( New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1908), 108-20.

I stand before you today on legs of iron and none can stay me from preaching the Gospel of the Lord God. I know well enough that the old devil is mad as a tempest about my being here; he knows that my call to preach comes from God, and that's what makes him so mad when he sees Jasper ascend the pulpit, for he knows that the people is going to hear a message

-634-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 926

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.