News is added to this site periodically. Please visit regularly for updates.
You also can sign up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter.
News & Events
IN HONOR OF ITS BICENTENNIAL AND BLACK HISTORY MONTH, RPTS RELEASES DIGITAL VERSION OF ALEXANDER MCLEOD'S 1802 "NEGRO SLAVERY UNJUSTIFIABLE" AND ACCOMPANYING VIDEO DOCUMENTARY
(Pittsburgh, Pa.) – February 8, 2010 – The Rev. Alexander McLeod penned the following words in a chilling cry of exhortation to his church and America in his 1802 work, “Negro Slavery Unjustifiable: A Discourse”, which the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) now makes available in digital form along with a documentary video at www.rpts.edu in honor of its 2010 bicentennial and Black History Month:
“The toleration of slavery is a national evil. It is the worst of robberies sanctioned by law ... If the Judge of all the earth shall do right, he cannot but punish the guilty … O America, what hast thou to account for on the head of slavery! … Thou hast made provision for increasing the number and continuing the bondage of thy slaves. Thy judgments may tarry, but they will assuredly come.”
Six decades later, President Abraham Lincoln intimated such divine judgment over all of the country for the slave industry in his Second Inaugural Address:
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’"
Rev. Alexander McLeod was a Scottish minister who was called by a church in 1800 in Orange, New York, where he knew some members owned slaves. He thus hesitated to accept the call, and quickly wrote to the elders of the church to implore them with his sentiments respecting slavery, which were later published in this volume—largely an exposition of Exodus 20:16: “He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”
As a result, what is now the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America banned slave owners from membership, which was necessary during a time when the nation held slavery to be a constitutional right. McLeod soon after was a founding superintendent of RPTS in 1810.
To read McLeod’s discourse against slavery in full and to watch the 27-minute video documentary about it, click here.
The video features an introduction and narration by Vince Sims, reporter and anchor for Channel 11 News (Pittsburgh’s NBC Affiliate). RPTS first-year Master of Theological Studies student, Alisha McCombs, sang Negro spirituals for background music. The dramatic reading of excerpts from McLeod’s work was done by RPTS 2006 alum, Andrew Cooper, who also is a D.Min. student at the Seminary and serves as church and student relations specialist and adjunct professor of church history teaching the Black Church History course.
Back to News/Events Page