A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

By Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Paul Jennings used to be born into slavery at the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later turning into a part of the Madison family employees on the White condominium. as soon as ultimately emancipated by means of Senator Daniel Webster later in lifestyles, he may provide an elderly and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former proprietor, cash from his personal pocket, write the 1st White apartment memoir, and notice his sons struggle with the Union military within the Civil conflict. He died a unfastened guy in northwest Washington at seventy five. in accordance with correspondence, criminal files, and magazine entries not often visible ahead of, this impressive portrait of the days unearths the mores and attitudes towards slavery of the 19th century, and sheds new mild on well-known characters equivalent to James Madison, who believed the white and black populations couldn't coexist as equals; French basic Lafayette who used to be appalled by means of this concept; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly bought Paul after her husband's demise; and lots of different in view that forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil correct activists.

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In retrospect, the calculation looked smart. I needed every one of my USF credits twenty-five years later when I got readmitted in the College of Professional Studies. Whereas Mike and Bob had made the leap, it would take me two more months to jump in after them. *** Alongside all this chaos were the musical recombinations within the band that Beverly’s presence had only compounded. We had Mike trying to make rock songs out of Disney (“Zip a Dee Doo Dah”) and Ira Gershwin (“I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’”); we had Pete Fullerton on bass, weaving in his love of classical and bluegrass; we had Bob Jones pushing us toward more aggressive electric guitar licks and toward dance.

It unfolded that we were on an Army ship, not a Navy ship, which struck me as sloppy planning, and no one offered us a taste of any activity more romantic than working in the engine room, which strikes me as deceptive recruiting. A few days’ bad weather pushed me to a breaking point before I asked a chaplain if he had a guitar. He didn’t, but he knew someone in the troop band who did. It was a cheap electric Silvertone, virtually the same instrument I’d rebelled against when taking lessons. Definitely not meant for folk, but it was better than nothing.

I remember riding in her Mustang back from Palmer Canyon one afternoon and coming to a sharp right turn in the middle of nowhere. The car spun out—harmlessly—but she was so shaken she had to give me the keys, and I drove her the rest of the way home. Another time, very late at night, we hit an animal. A. from San Francisco. Between King City and Atascadero back then was totally undeveloped, nothing along the side of the road but fields. I remember passing the sign for Mission San Miguel, which burned in my mind because I was a Southern California kid fascinated by the appeal of points north.

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