Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Father James Page
Cover image of Father James Page
Share this Title:

Father James Page

An Enslaved Preacher's Climb to Freedom

Larry Eugene Rivers

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

This first-of-its-kind biography tells the story of Rev. James Page, who rose from slavery in the nineteenth century to become a religious and political leader among African Americans as well as an international spokesperson for the cause of racial equality.

Winner of the Rembert Patrick Award by The Florida Historical Society, Florida Non-Fiction Book Award by the Florida Book Awards, Harry T. and Harrietter V. Moore Award by the Florida Historical Society

James Page spent the majority of his life enslaved—during which time he experienced the death of his free father, witnessed his mother and…

This first-of-its-kind biography tells the story of Rev. James Page, who rose from slavery in the nineteenth century to become a religious and political leader among African Americans as well as an international spokesperson for the cause of racial equality.

Winner of the Rembert Patrick Award by The Florida Historical Society, Florida Non-Fiction Book Award by the Florida Book Awards, Harry T. and Harrietter V. Moore Award by the Florida Historical Society

James Page spent the majority of his life enslaved—during which time he experienced the death of his free father, witnessed his mother and brother being sold on the auction block, and was forcibly moved 700 miles south from Richmond, VA, to Tallahassee, FL, by his enslaver, John Parkhill. Page would go on to become Parkhill's chief aide on his plantation and, unusually, a religious leader who was widely respected by enslaved men and women as well as by white clergy, educators, and politicians. Rare for enslaved people at the time, Page was literate—and left behind ten letters that focused on his philosophy as an enslaved preacher and, later, as a free minister, educator, politician, and social justice advocate.

In Father James Page, Larry Eugene Rivers presents Page as a complex, conflicted man: neither a nonthreatening, accommodationist mouthpiece for white supremacy nor a calculating schemer fomenting rebellion. Rivers emphasizes Page's agency in pursuing a religious vocation, in seeking to exhibit "manliness" in the face of chattel slavery, and in pushing back against the overwhelming power of his enslaver. Post-emancipation, Page continued to preach and to advocate for black self-determination and independence through black land ownership, political participation, and business ownership. The church he founded—Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee—would go on to be a major political force not only during Reconstruction but through today.

Based upon numerous archival sources and personal papers, as well as an in-depth interview of James Page and a reflection on his life by a contemporary, this deeply researched book brings to light a fascinating life filled with contradictions concerning gender, education, and the social interaction between the races. Rivers' biography of Page is an important addition, and corrective, to our understanding of black spirituality and religion, political organizing, and civic engagement.

Jump to
Quick Add
Father James Page

Larry Eugene Rivers

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Slavery's Ghost
Slavery's Ghost

Richard Follett, Eric Foner, and Walter Johnson

$25.00
Quick Add
Slavery's Ghost

Richard Follett, Eric Foner, and Walter Johnson

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Baptism of Early Virginia
The Baptism of Early Virginia

Rebecca Anne Goetz

$32.00
Quick Add
The Baptism of Early Virginia

Rebecca Anne Goetz

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Uncompromising Activist
Uncompromising Activist

Katherine Reynolds Chaddock

$27.00
Quick Add
Uncompromising Activist

Katherine Reynolds Chaddock

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Young Frederick Douglass
Young Frederick Douglass

Dickson J. Preston
with a new foreword by David W. Blight

$30.00
Quick Add
Young Frederick Douglass

Dickson J. Preston
with a new foreword by David W. Blight

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The People of Rose Hill
The People of Rose Hill

Lucy Maddox

$54.95
Quick Add
The People of Rose Hill

Lucy Maddox

Publication Date
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

Dr. Rivers has written a very brave book, because it refuses to accept stereotypes no matter their origin.

This is a remarkable book, deeply researched, gracefully written, and revealing many astonishing facts about the trials of a slave and how he coped with racial attitudes and prejudices.

Because the past informs the present, Rivers illuminates the path of Father James Page's climb to freedom as a framework for measuring our own lives and the progress of Florida and America toward achieving racial justice and equality. 

deeply researched and inspiring book...Rivers does an excellent job of analyzing and describing the very complicated and sometimes contradictory behavior of Father James Page.

As the first scholarly, full-length biography of any 19th century enslaved preacher from slavery to freedom Rivers' impeccably written biography is an impressive undertaking that required years of archival digging and a careful examination of the limited primary sources available[it] models the practice of vivifying overlooked historical figures.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
324
ISBN
9781421440309
Illustration Description
12 b&w photos, 7 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Early Life in Virginia
2. Forced Migration to the Florida Frontier
3. A New Environment and Responsibilities as an Overseer
4

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Early Life in Virginia
2. Forced Migration to the Florida Frontier
3. A New Environment and Responsibilities as an Overseer
4. Challenges, Calamities, and the Ministry
5. Forging Family Ties
6. Intensifying Pastoral Duties and Leadership Responsibilities
7. Stepping toward Civil War
8. The Civil War Years
9. Emancipation and Congressional Reconstruction
10. Radical Reconstruction and Its Aftermath
Epilogue
Notes
Index

Author Bio