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Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2006
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"Exhaustively researched, teeming with useful nuggets, and written with an undertone of faith that Jackson himself would have admired, this study clears the air of a lot of myth, accidental and otherwise. The narrative surprises and informs, memorializes and inspires, all at the same time." Professor James I. Robertson, Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor in History Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University --James I. Robertson Jr.
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There was Joe Lightburn, a boyhood friend, who shared with Jackson his love for books and impressed upon him the idea that slavery was wrong and that blacks should be taught to read and learn the Bible. There was "Uncle Robinson," a trusted black servant, who took good care of Jackson and his sister when they were youngsters, during the time their mother was ill and near death. Later, during Jackson's adult years at Lexington, there was John Lyle, the owner of a local bookstore, who loaned Jackson prayer books and guided him towards embracing Presbyterianism.
In Lexington, Jackson owned 3 slaves, which his second wife, Anna, received as a wedding present from her father. Jackson was kind and compassionate to these slaves, teaching them to read and requiring that they attend family worship services in his household. In 1855, while serving as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Jackson began teaching slaves and free blacks at a black Sunday-school class, even though such a practice was prohibited by the Virginia legislature. In doing so, he risked both criminal prosecution and public ridicule at a time when Nat Turner's revolt was still a fresh memory in the minds of Virginians.Read more ›
The author details the incredible cruelty associated with slavery and the unjust nature of it. Slavery is condemned very forcefully. However, since this is a review/summary of the book it is necessary to be brief. So we will use a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
We have the wolf (the evil of slavery) by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let go. Justice is on one scale, and self preservation on the other.
Much of slave owners' capital was in slaves. Letting go would mean economic disaster. Reason and love of justice clearly say that slavery is wrong.
This in a nut shell sums up the essential dilemma which confronted slave owners.
The other aspect is that slavery was an American problem, not just a flaw in Southern character. Virginia repeatedly attempted to outlaw slave importation before the Revolutionary War. However, these laws were overturned by the British King. Why? Northern shipping and economy heavily relied on the slave trade. In fact the first colony to legalize the slave trade was Massachusetts in 1641. The first state to outlaw the slave trade was Virginia in 1778.
Given time, the slavery problem would have been handled without a war which was so destructive. But that was not to be.
The author does not intend this as a game to see who was wrong first or last. It simply makes the point that slavery was wrong and both North and South had a hand in it.Read more ›
I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking information on the true character of T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson.
Jackson was a man of God who cared for the souls of African-Americans in a way most slave owners did not. He went so far as to break the law and teach slaves to read so they could study the Bible. If modern civil rights "leaders" who have the title "reverend" in front of their name took such an interest in the souls of 21st Century African-Americans, then race relations would be much better than they are.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It will bring you to tears before you even get out of the first chapter. I am thinking of ordering a 2nd copy.Published on October 3, 2013 by Go Vols
I knew a little about this side of Jackson's life, but not nearly all this author brought out. He did a fabulous job with it.Published on February 18, 2013 by Gary Googe
Of the many works of hagiography devoted to Stonewall Jackson, this unquestionably is the most ludicrous. Read morePublished on December 17, 2008 by concerned historian