This book is about an extraordinary Black preacher. He was not a political activist, a civil rights leader, or the head of any special movement. He was just a preacher who had an unusual anointing of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel with power. John Jasper was a slave who began his preaching career as a slave. One half of his ministerial career was as a slave and the other half was as a free man. Without formal education or academic training, this “Black Angel” became a legend in his own time. He often drew great crowds to his meeting and many white people came to hear this “ignorant and unlearned” slave preacher. Governors, judges, legislators, and many men of eminent distinction, including distinguished white ministers were moved under the power of his preaching. Jasper stood on the literal meaning of the Word of God, and one of his best known and most controversial sermons was the sermon in which he proved from the Bible that the sun does not move. The Sixth Mount Zion Church in Richmond, Virginia still stands as a memorial to John Jasper and not too far away is the sight of his grave, marked by a magnificent monument erected by his church members and other lovers, of whom he had legions. At a ripe old age this profound and spiritually eloquent old soldier of the cross went to see his Master face to face. A most unusual feature about this story of John Jasper is that it was written by a white preacher, who lived in the town with him. William E. Hatcher was a white contemporary, who claimed no exemption from Southern prejudices, and felt no call to sound the praises of the Black race, yet he sympathetically and compassionately tells the story of John Jasper. Reverend Hatcher had heard about Jasper and he went to hear him out of curiosity on a Sunday afternoon. He went back again and kept going off and on for twenty years. The book grew spontaneously, and most of the contents were written before the book was thought about. The reflections and insights of this book gives us a rare view of race relationships in the South both during and after slavery. There is the evidence that race relations was not all negative as suggested by much contemporary literature.
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