General Background to John Paling’s presentations (PDF Download)

Draft write up for publication in advance of the program (can be modified)

Dr. John Paling will be the keynote speaker at the next meeting of __(organization)_______ at (location) ___________ starting at (time) on (date).

John will reveal the exciting contents of a trove of recently discovered letters covering the American civil war. They were written by from Thomas Jackson, a Britisher and a distant relative who lived most of his life in Pennsylvania and wrote extensive first hand accounts of the trials and tribulations of trying to abolish slavery when many in the north as well as the south threatening his life. This shortened version of this large collection (see focuses on the human experience of just one unknown, effectively powerless man who was nevertheless inspired to try to make a difference. In a quest to help save the union, he decided to act as a news reporter and send detailed, first hand accounts of the slavery issue back to his relatives in England asking that they get them published in the English newspapers. The talk will remind us that how many in the north actually did not want to see slavery abolished and actually formed secret societies to support the southern forces. It also provides personal examples of how the author valued the high intelligence and respected the abilities of his African American workforce and how any attempt to educate the slaves was being severely punished. Despite Thomas Jackson’s many disappointments over the period he wrote these letters, he finishes up on the right side of history. But he sees many injustices still in place and writes in the local paper in 1875 , “. . . the poor, helpless emancipated slaves ought to have been the wards of our Nation and their lives held as sacred as the life of any white American in these United States."

Coming to America in his middle ages, John was not brought up conditioned to support one side or the other in the “War Between the States” and so can offer fresh perspectives on what we might learn for today from those tumultuous events of long ago.

His talk is entitled (as agreed)

For more information contact: (local organizer) at (phone) or John Paling (352 377 2142)

This promotional piece can include photos from the Thomas Jackson collection or of Paling speaking

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