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Stonewall Jackson and National Literacy Month

Stonewall Jackson was a rebel—he illegally taught slaves to read!


Contact:  Tracy Ford, Cumberland House Publishing, 615-832-1171 ext. 14, tford@cumberlandhouse.com; Richard G. Williams, Jr., author, stonewallbook@yahoo.com


NASHVILLE, Sept. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- In 1856 a dramatic religious revival swept through the sleepy Blue Ridge mountain village of Lexington, Virginia. Scores were converted. The revival left additional consequences in its wake: a prayer warrior who suffered a stroke, revitalized educational institutions, churches filled with new converts, and a black Sunday school class that would impact history for generations. Read about this most unusual story in Richard G. Williams, Jr.’s latest book, Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend (ISBN: 1-58182-565-X, $20.95, hardcover).


“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.” —from the foreword by Professor James I. Robertson, Jr., nationally acclaimed Civil War historian, Jackson biographer and consultant to the film, Gods & Generals


Jackson’s spirituality is repeated throughout the book—a skillful interweaving by Williams of well-documented facts and research with heartwarming and inspirational language in such a way that the reader barely notices the actual history lesson taking place.”—Human Events


The book examines a paradox of Stonewall Jackson’s life: his conversion to Christianity was encouraged by Southern slaves which ultimately led Jackson to minister to other slaves and free blacks in later years - including breaking the law by teaching them to read. Exploring in depth Jackson’s now famous “Colored Sabbath-School,” Williams reveals—for the first time—the influence his efforts had on subsequent generations of African-Americans. Using original documents, interviews, historical resources, and heretofore unpublished letters and photographs, Williams confirms the veneration with which blacks from Virginia esteemed Jackson, even years after his death—and some to this day. An interview with, and photographs of, two spiritual descendants of Jackson’s black Sunday school class adds a real life connection to this fascinating dimension of the legendary general’s life.


Williams explores Jackson’s documented youthful pangs of conscience regarding the bondage and illiteracy of American slaves—and how Providence ultimately came to use him to have a lasting and positive impact on Southern blacks. The book is a must read for Christians and Civil War historians.


RICHARD G. WILLIAMS JR. is an author and speaker on subjects related to the Civil War. A regular contributor to the Washington Times’ Civil War column, his Civil War & business articles have also appeared in various journals and magazines. He is the author of The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen--a Conservative Book Club selection. A homeschooling father and 26-year veteran Sunday school teacher, Williams lives in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.