John P. Parker

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His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker, Former Slave And Conductor on the Underground Railroad.

When we think of the conductors of the Underground Railroad many think of Harriet Tubman and her only, but if we study history carefully we will find out that she is not the only conductor worth mentioning. John P. Parker has to be one of the most underappreciated figures not only in African American history but American history in general. If everyone was aware of this true American hero’s story, without question he would be a household name. The autobiography of John P. Parker is very well written and will have any reader on the edge of their seat throughout the entire book. The accounts of his experiences both as a slave and as a conductor of the Underground Railroad are extremely descriptive and would make any reader feel like they were right there with Mr. Parker feeling his pain, anger, pride, bravery, and even his humor. Although there are many themes that you can find in this book, we are going to focus on his bravery, cleverness, and freedom as the three themes to discuss. The first theme we are going to discuss is freedom. John Parker’s life includes many experiences that would influence his love and aspiration for freedom. At the young age of eight years old, he was sold and forced to walk from Norfolk, Virginia to Richmond, Virginia chained to an old man who would be whipped to death. “This experience set him on fire with hatred and desire to gain his freedom” (p.20). John Parker was owned by a doctor who had sons that would smuggle books to him. The doctor would also encourage Mr. Parker to learn the trade of iron molding. This situation would influence his aspiration for freedom because he had the ability to read and also knew the trade of iron molding and was fully aware of his potential as a free man. When John Parker finally did get his freedom, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he would help others on their journey to...
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