Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


On page 3, what is the meaning or background of the mention of "Ham"? If anyone knows what I am referring to, and any any indication of Douglass' mention of the word, I'd greatly appreciate any information you might have! Thank you! :)
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Every year brings with it multitudes of this class of slaves. It was doubtless in consequence of a knowledge of this fact, that one great statesman of the south predicted the downfall of slavery by the inevitable laws of population. Whether this prophecy is ever fulfilled or not, it is nevertheless plain that a very different-looking class of people are springing up at the south, and are now held in slavery, from those originally brought to this country from Africa; and if their increase do no other good, it will do away the force of the argument, that God cursed Ham, and therefore American slavery is right. If the lineal descendants of Ham are alone to be scripturally enslaved, it is certain that slavery at the south must soon become unscriptural; for thousands are ushered into the world, annually, who, like myself, owe their existence to white fathers, and those fathers most frequently their own masters.

In the Bible, Ham is the son of Noah. In Genesis 9:22, it says that Ham came upon Noah while he was drunk and saw his nakedness. Rather than cover his father respectfully, Ham ran out to get his brothers, so that they too could see him. His brothers, however, back into the room and cover their father.... they do not share the joke or laugh. As a result, Noah curses Ca'naan, Ham's son in Genesis 9:25.

"And he said, Cursed be Ca'naan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."

This curse was placed on Canaan, and all of his descendants, a curse that is blamed on Ham and progeny, the blacks who've been taken into slavery.


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass