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  John Jasper
John Jasper


 
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"The Unmatched Negro philosopher and Preacher"

Foreword -
"It was with a combined sense of awe and reverence that I stepped behind the pulpit of the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, realizing that the former Negro slave and illustrious black orator, john Jasper, had thundered forth from that very spot a century previously. I thought of hid famous, "De Sun Do Move" sermon (preached over 250 times), and how both blacks and whites--some from all over the world--had packed that auditorium weekly to hear him exalt Christ and His Word.
The vast assembly hall held no excited throng of worshipers when I was there, however, since it was not the time of a scheduled service. But when sweet gospel singer Ray Hart, who was in our party, stepped to the podium and let loose with a few bars of "Ship Ahoy!" the members having meetings in the basement came running. Ray and I were in a meeting at another Richmond church and when we were offered a choice, on that cold, snowy Sunday afternoon, of seeing some of the historic sights of early Americanism or visiting Jasper's old church, we opted for the latter. John had been a hero of mine for over three decades--from the time I first read his biography and learned his story.
What a mighty man of God was John Jasper! Born on the Peachy's Fluvanna Plantation shortly after his father's death (the 24th child of that union, by the way), he was named by his devout mother, Tina, for John the Baptist--with prayer that he would be another "voice" for God. Shuttled from one plantation to another, at age 22 he "married" 18 year old Elvy Weaden, but was separated from her by his cruel owner almost immedialtely-and John never saw her again. Embittered, this started him down a wild and wicked road of rebellion that eventually came to a screeching halt in his Tobacco House conversion, n exciting story in itself and the result of six weeks "seeking". The revolution in his life was as instantaneous and dramatic as that of Saul of Tarsus, and Jasper began at once to tell everyone what had happened almost causing a revival to break out in the warehouse. He preached his first sermon--a funeral--the very afternoon he was baptized, and the Old African Baptist Church licensed him to preach thirty days later.
From the very start of his ministry he held his audiences spellbound and the author of this biography was one of the many who sat in the Jim Crow section for whites every Sunday afternoon for 20 years. When Jasper died, on March 28, 1901, God broke the mold, as they used to say in Texas, and there has never been another one quite like him since.
There are other biographies of Jasper, but none as good as this. (And this is where the others obtained most of their material!) When the renowned biographer, Richard Ellsworth Day, penned his Rhapsody in Black, he acknowledged his own indebtedness and noted"...make the world (its) debtor by issuing a reprint of Hatcher's book." That indebtedness now belongs to Larry Harrison and his Christian Book Gallery. I thank them.
You hold in your hand an exciting, thrilling book. Enjoy it!

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