Skip to main content

The First Emancipator

This morning I finished C.S. Lewis' On Stories an uneven collection of essays about literature, some worthwhile, some only so-so. Now though I've got The First Emacipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter--the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves by Andrew Levy. I have for as long as I can remember interested in this period of history especially when the question of slavery comes up. I like to see how people, some near geniuses, dealt with the great moral evil perpetuated in their midst, much like abortion is today. On the first page Levy writes that Carter presented a "Deed of Gift" to a Virginia court. In the document was the instructions to free his 450 slaves "more American slaves than any American slaveholder had ever freed, more American slaves than any American slaveholder would ever free."
Levy continues:
What made Carter's act even more striking, however, were the circumstances that surrounded it. Carter lived next to the Washingtons and the Lees. . . he was friend and peer to Jefferson, George Mason, Patrick Henry, and other members of the Revolutionary-era elite. And Robert Carter, at least at first, was wealthier than any of these men; owned more land, more slaves, as many books; and was the scion of the most powerful family of the Virginian eighteenth century. But as his friends and peers ascended to the mythic status of founders, Carter disappeared from the national stage: he died almost alone in a modest house on Green Street in Baltimore in 1804, and was buried in a grave that remains unmarked to this day.

And that's just the first two pages! Who was this guy? Why is there a book about him? I'm going to embark on a journey to find out. I'll let you know.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

Worth Quoting

"...[K]eep in mind that a human being is not made for the processing of data, but for wisdom; not for the utilitarian satisfaction of appetite, but for love; not for the domination of nature, but for participation in it; not for the autonomy of an isolated self, but for communion." --Anthony Esolen,  Foreword to Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.


PESD? Post-Election Stress Disorder

As I write this, the presidential election is still undecided. Which is fine. The Republicans have campaigned for 17 months now...there ought to be a law against that!
When I wake up tomorrow morning, we will have a new President-elect, and frankly I don't care who it is because both the major party candidates nauseated me.
I voted for a small third-party that I was actually excited about, that I believe(d) in, and may try to get involved at the local level at some point. That was important to me--voting for something, rather than against.

If tomorrow morning you wake up in agony at the thought of our new president, ignore it. Better yet, put that energy into your community. Fill blessing bags for the homeless to carry in your car. Go to a parks commission meeting. Tutor a struggling student. Learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood. Know your watershed. Help a neighbor rake leaves. Learn your neighbor's names! Join a civic group. Buy some coffee for the teachers in …