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The key concept is simply that people need to be loved and deserved to be loved because they were created in the image of God.
Acceptance should have nothing to do with stature or position, but simply with the fact that we are all humans.
Forgiveness should flow freely without strings attached because we can all receive that same gift.
I would encourage all people to read this book, embrace the concepts, and allow it to change the way you opperate as a person. In the simplest terms, in the most concise way to put it, it will challenge you to examine the way you view humanity.
I wish every Christian friend I have could read it. My husband and I read it chapter by chapter aloud to each other and could hardly put it down until the last page was finished.
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The subject is the plight of African Americans in the West-California in particular-during and after the 1849 gold rush. Focusing primarily upon the extremely interesting life and experiences of Mifflin Gibbs, in the '40s an acquaintance and sometimes speaking partner of Frederick Douglass, Jerry Stanley tells in some detail of the fate of those few African Americans venturing-willingly or unwillingly-into California at the end of that decade. To those of us raised a century and a half after the fact, and especially to us raised in the West, California of the 1840s and 1850s conjures up images of "tolerance," "freedom," and even "abolition." The experiences of Mifflin Gibbs and his contemporaries show what misconceptions these images really are. Instead of "tolerance," we read of bigotry as deep as that found in the slave states. "Freedom" is precarious, even for those born free, such as Gibbs; for others, it is often gained only through a California counterpart to the Underground Railroad. "Abolition" proves to be more an unattainable concept than a reality, as California-legally a "free" state-again and again refuses to "grant" any of the fundamental rights of citizenship to its resident, and economically productive, African American population throughout the 1850s. Finally, frustrated by the repeated insults and lack of corrective action on the part of the California legislature, Gibbs and more than two hundred others-twenty percent of California's black population and fifty percent of San Francisco's-emigrated to Canada, where attitudes about tolerance and freedom were a bit more enlightened, and definitely legislated. As a postscript, Stanley notes that Gibbs eventually returned to the United States in 1869, eventually being admitted to the bar, serving as a City Judge and Arkansas Registrar of Lands, and being appointed United States Ambassador to Madegascar. Gibbs' own autobiography, "Shadow and Light," remains in print, and can be purchased through Amazon.com.
Jerry Stanley is a master writer and storyteller, and "Hurry Freedom" contains some of his best work to date, told in an appropriate-but not condescending-style for young adults. Indeed, as noted above, this book makes interesting adult reading. And the situation of African Americans in antebellum California is Stanley's area of expertise (his academic research since his postgraduate days has dealt with this very area), one he covers in this case with well written prose and an abundance of fascinating photographs. Like "Children of the Dust Bowl," "Big Annie of Calumet," "I Am an American," and "Digger"-his prior works, frequent book award winners and nominees, and all available on this site-"Hurry Freedom" is a well constructed expression of Stanley's knowledge and love of his topic.
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This book tells the story of the man who fought the community and the powers that be in order to start a school for these kids to make sure they got a decent education. His achievements exceeded his ambitions, as the school was a well deserved success. Many of the students went on to greater things, something that would have been hard to imagine before.
"Children of the Dust Bowl" was written for kids, but anyone interested in this unique time in our country's history would enjoy it.
I had to priviledge of being a student of Jerry Stanley's at Cal State Bakersfield, so I am somewhat biased in my praise for him and his work. This book deserves all of it, though. It is an excellent work in living history and well worth your time
Stanley treats the same material in short form in an article in The American West (1986).
Your Fellow Adolescent, Shanti Lipscomb
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