His Promised Land book review

Length: 5 Pages 1208 Words

The autobiography of John P. Parker, a former slave and “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, could be best described as the life time battle of one man against slavery of the African American people. In his own definition of this great injustice, that sadly effected many lives, Parker describes slavery as a phenomenon that "was the making of a human being as an animal without hope . . . and that slavery's curse was not pain of the body, but pain of the soul"(Parker, p26). This troubled him so much that he devoted his life to make a change. Although he often risked his own life along the way, he not only fought for his own freedom, but for the freedom of other slaves as well. His struggle takes place during the darkest time for blacks, particularly in the southern regions of the United States, and part of the most shameful of American history. Slavery was introduced in 1619 as a response to a shortage of labor in southern plantations. By the 1700s, the height of slavery, enslaved blacks came to outnumber whites in the south almost two to one. Between 1730 and 1760, as a response to a fear of black revolts, laws were passed to establish white control over the status of black slaves, enshrining it into law (Mckay, p895). E Continue...


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Because he did not "behave he was to be resold. He decided to take the case in his own hands, and by searching for pity, persuaded an elderly female patient of the doctor's to purchase him. It was his early years that made him adopt hate for slavery. Patenting a number of inventions from his foundry, Parker was one of few African Americans to obtain a United State's patent in the 19th century. Also, he describes all of main traps and daring rescues, near escapes and noble sacrifices. It is important not to overlook the enormity of his fight since it was directed against a centuries old establishment of slavery in United States. Parker's account abounds in daring escapes, tragic failures, and astonishing heroics. It's also clear from the book, that for Parker rescuing slaves was not merely an anger motivated thing he felt he had to do, but also an activity touched with excitement, even, one might say fun. Hundreds of slaves were saved by only Parker himself and probably thousands by this network. He was forced to move away from his family in Virginia and was made to walk to Alabama, where he was, at the age of eight, sold to a doctor in Mobile. For the first time he was depending on his own resourcefulness to provide food and safety for himself. Aware of what he had done, he had no other chance but to run out of city. The doctor's family of two sons also taught Parker how to read and write, so he eventually became extremely loyal to the family. He rejoined the doctor's family and learned a trade in an iron foundry where he was compensated and permitted to keep some of his earnings. He followed his trade as an iron master by day while rescuing fugitive slaves by night.

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