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We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber

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We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
74091, 58047
genre:
Memoir, History, Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

Amos Webber, born free and black in Pennsylvania in 1826, believed in self-help, self-improvement, and the principle of equality as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. In the black community of Worcester, Mass., Webber was a leading citizen — devoted husband, teetotaler, church organist, courier on the Underground Railroad, sergeant in the all-black Fifth Cavalry during the Civil War, founder of various black fraternal organizations. In the white world, where racism was rampant, he was just a janitor. The tensions of his double life found release in the diary he kept for nearly 40 years. (He died in 1904.) Nick Salvatore’s bio We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber expands on Webber’s concise, ironic entries with sympathy and historical acumen. Part of the interest is in imagining what this 19th-century African-American — stern, humorous, tirelessly public-spirited — would make of us today: ”Bunch of softies,” you can almost hear him say. ”Get off that couch and make this country work.”

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