Historian peter linebaugh traces the first known African American usage of the concept of Jubilee to an 1834 edition of a children’s magazine called The Southern Rose Bud. The description of slave children singing a hymn reads: “Don’t you hear the Gospel trumpet sound Jubilee?” From this we know that by 1834 the idea of Jubilee was well known to the slaves—even children. And while the intent of the Bible’s call for Jubilee and the possibility of its implementation have both been debated over the decades, one thing is true: the hope of Jubilee has animated the struggles of the enslaved, the oppressed, and the exploited for hundreds of years.

The hope of Jubilee continues to run parallel and in juxtaposition to the long history of disparity, racism, and servitude—not only as a horizon to look toward, but as a state of being....

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