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Caldwell - wanted free blacks to maintain a role as...

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Both Kemp P. Battle and W.J. Peele wrote about what identified as a unique case of a respectful and worthy colored man. Only once in his lifetime, Wilson Caldwell moved higher within the rings of society, beyond from just freeman to a distinguished official in government. But neither biographer focused on that part of Caldwell’s life, rather they wrote mostly on his commitment to the university as janitor/ waiter. Battle briefly mentions Caldwell’s role as Justice of the Peace during the reconstruction era. Peele does not even mention that aspect of Caldwell’s life. Both biographers reason that Caldwell stayed with the university because he was dedicated to university and students but they fail to mention the limitation of employment for African- Americans at that time. These biographies were written for educated white people, specifically for alumni and current students of the university. Both of these were written after reconstruction and the era where bi-racial relationships were condemned and looked down upon. Most gentry and yeomen
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Unformatted text preview: wanted free blacks to maintain a role as quasi-slaves rather to progress in society. The idea of an intellectual freeman scared for most people. Caldwell may have been the exception for many white people. With the knowledge of the difficulties of freemen during that era, Caldwell’s life is no longer just a story of a dedicated janitor rather of a former slave whose dreams and aspirations were limited by the society he lived in. It is clear about Caldwell times as town commissioner, Justice of the Peace, and in his interest in education, that he dreamt of being something more than just a janitor for the university. If Caldwell had been able to tell him tell his life story, than he would emphasize on his life achievements during the reconstruction era. He had been able to achieve a role in society that was rare and unseen by African Americans in the area at that time....
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