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One of my 2014 SMART Goals was to read a book a month just for fun, because my dear friend Abby teased me for reading a lot of books that are “good for me” and not enough just for fun. While I haven’t stuck to the one a month goal, if you switch that to twelve books for the year, I am on target to finish twelve books just for fun. One that I just finished reading is Twice a Slave. Twice a Slave is the story of a Cherokee slave, as told by one of his descendants. The story illuminates a forbidden romance, and tragedies that build faith.
The story spans the nearly one hundred years between 1756 and 1852. The real story begins, after the prologue, with the purchase of a young Cherokee slave named Ahyoka in the Dorchester, South Carolina by Agerton Willis. His intent was to take her home to cook and clean. As the story progressed, Agerton and Ahyoka (also known as Joy), fell in love and were married in a clandestine wedding. They had one son, named Joseph Willis.
Joseph was raised as a slave, being of mix’t blood (a phrase that I personally despise, but was culturally acceptable during the time the book spans). When his father died, he included in his will that Joseph should be emancipated. The law, however, required that Joseph remain a slave until his 21st birthday. His uncle, Daniel, refused to honor the will and emancipate him.
The story follows Joseph throughout his live, as he changes the course of history in Louisiana. Though he was born into slavery, Joseph was eventually granted his freedom when his cousin became a senator and introduced a bill to emancipate him. Joseph is determined to find his purpose and discover his identity. His mother was a woman of faith, and Joseph became the man most responsible for planting Baptist churches west of the Mississippi River.
He faced his own insecurities, prejudice from all sides, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Even though Joseph’s life was threatened because of his race and faith, he became the first Protestant to preach the gospel west of the Mississippi River and started the first Baptist church west of the Mississippi.
While much of the story can be substantiated through historical accounts, the author does state where creative liberties were taken.
I’ll be the first to admit that I picked this book up several times and put it down without opening it. I didn’t want to read a depressing tale about a man that fought for his freedom, only to be captured and enslaved again. Once I actually started reading it, though, I didn’t want to put it down. Twice a Slave is a poignant tale of how faith can trump circumstance. It is amazing how one man can overcome undeniable tragedy to leave such a lasting impact on a nation. I would heartily recommend Twice a Slave.
Twice a Slave is one of the Jerry B. Jenkins Select Line of books. It is available on Amazon or www.barnesandnoble.com or on http://mychristianbookorders.com/ or wherever Christian novels are sold. Learn more about Twice a Slave at http://www.twiceaslave.com/