John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1835-1892 was not only the son of Eston and Julia Hemings but also a nephew, cousin and sibling to other Hemings near and far to him in both war and peace; and, with the blessings of all he was able to establish and maintain his identity as a White man in 19th century America. No doubt, his father named him to honor the beloved and talented Uncle John Hemings the builder, ... a true Masonic minded master long before 20th century pretenders up from slavery that entered the lodge but did not study or travel into histories that allowed them to be free-masons.
Our interest in the story of Eston's number one son, ... is the fact that "he knew what he knew when he knew it" in the second half of the 19th century when human worth was not simply on the basis of skin color or hair texture, ... but definitive racial heritage as would confront European Jews and everyone else in first half of 20th century. We know that as a commander of human resources for change, ... he knew a lot more about real movements for changing human conditions and relationships of African-Americans than most novelists ever envision.
He knew and lived in the real world of injustice long before author James Baldwin wrote about "The Fire Next Time" that many unheraled men of multi-generation values and views like Dr. King were struggling day and night to extinguish. Indeed, many of the thousands of young men led by Colonel John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, ... marched into battles singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for "the least of us" not yet born.
In fact, it was not until the second half in 20th century realties, thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, ... that courage and contents of character mattered as much or more to our living Christ than what appeared to be most important to vast majority of African-Americans, ie: color, fashion, texture, tint, etc., and still does to many not yet up from enslaved minds.
The life of John Wayles Hemings Jefferson in helping to win the Civil War was far more useful than too many historians, Black and White, choose to acknowledge. He was part of a great Messianic movement that our faith causes us to believe was about much more than rebels imagined, then or now. Movements for change did not begin or end with civil rights marches in the 1960s. We believe John likely viewed himself as part of something driven to be much more than he could conceptualize or reason to occur.
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