The Slave Bible Returns Home to Fisk University

In 2018 Fisk University partnered with the Museum of the Bible, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for a special exhibition featuring the rare Slave Bible. There are only three known copies of the Slave Bible in existence. One copy belongs to Fisk University, and the other two are located in the United Kingdom. The exhibition, The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told, opened on November 28 at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C and explored the Slave Bible’s role in the struggle for freedom.


At the end of February, the Salve bible will return to Fisk University. To mark the end of its stay the Museum of the Bible is holding a celebration on February 8th. The night will include a performance from the Fisk Jubilee Singers and a round table talk to discuss the Bibles’ role in social transformation in the 21st century. The discussion’s panelist will include Dr. Ida E. Jones, Dr. Eric Lewis Williams, Dr. Yolanda Pierce, and Fisk University’s own Dr. Jessie Carney Smith.


The original Slave Bible was published by Law and Gilbert publishing house in London in 1807, and the copy belonging to Fisk University was published the following year. It was published on behalf of the Society for the Conversion of Negro Slaves to educate enslaved Africans and preserve the system of slavery. It excluded any portion of the bible that might inspire liberation. This rare artifact features selections from the Holy Bible that were used to defend slavery during most of the abolition movement. It omits most of the Old Testament and around half of the New Testament.


Don’t miss your last chance to see the Slave Bible before it returns to Fisk University. Join us for a time of contemplation and commemoration of the role this Bible has played in the African American experience. Guests will witness the resilience and fortitude of the African American community and its ability to rise above the “peculiar” institution of chattel slavery through the lens of Spirituals and Gospel music.


WHO: A roundtable discussion moderated by Dr. Ida E. Jones between Dr. Eric Lewis Williams of NMAACH, Dr. Jessie Carney Smith of Fisk University, and Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Dean of Divinity at Howard University.

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Howard University Gospel Choir

WHEN: Saturday, February 8, 2020, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Museum of the Bible

400 4th St. SW

Washington, DC 20024