Parker Paper- Identity

Parker Paper- Identity - 1 John P. Parkers Identity through...

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1 John P. Parker’s Identity through Intelligence Sam Regalado History 1301W Carolyn Lee November 17, 2008
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2 John P. Parker used his good fortune as a slave to become a hero of the Underground Railroad. Parker’s lessons in reading and various jobs increased his intelligence and his ego. In his autobiography, His Promised Land , John P. Parker sees himself as more intelligent than the average slave and southern white man. For this reason, Parker often engaged in very risky escape attempts. Parker also used excessive force towards runaway slaves to demonstrate their ever-present danger. This, however, proved to be beneficial for Parker and runaways. In particularly bad situations where Parker’s life was even at stake, his quick thinking, nerve, and demonstrations of power helped save lives. While others saw him as a hero, Parker saw himself as an extremely intelligent abolitionist because of his success in buying freedom and helping runaway slaves escape to freedom during life-threatening situations. In understanding why John Parker believed he was smarter than most southerners, it is important to examine his background. Parker was the son of a white father and a black mother, thus he was a slave. His hatred of slavery grew throughout his life, and Parker believed that it was one of the driving forces behind his motivation to succeed in life. While serving in Mobile for a doctor, Parker learned to read and write. Parker also acquired various skills, the most important being an iron moulder. Through literacy, trades, and strength, Parker developed an ego that was actually well deserved. He was an exceptionally lucky man who was able to get out of many dangerous situations due to his master, and more so due to his intelligence. Parker developed an identity as an abolitionist who was powerful, clever, and smart. John Parker was a successful abolitionist because his hatred of slavery and intelligence were well developed at a young age. Even before he learned to read and write, Parker was a sharp and quick thinker. One instance is where he escapes a possible beating due to his quick thinking. Parker disrupts his chained caravan to assist a younger slave to a drink. Sacrificing his
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3 own drink, Parker quickly erases any evidence that he created the disruption. He recollects that, “This incident was bad for me because for the first time it came to me that I could get away with things and not be caught. That was the white man’s brain at work in me.” 1 Parker believed this incident to be bad because it provoked him to engage in life-threatening situations. The incident
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2011 for the course HIST 3959 taught by Professor Menard during the Spring '10 term at Minnesota.

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Parker Paper- Identity - 1 John P. Parkers Identity through...

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