Preservation of the Union: Then and Now Build a Bridge

Preservation of the Union--Then and Now is a book written by Robert Tolbert, a ninth-generation American and former sixth grade teacher and coach. The book discusses how his first ancestor came from Buckinghamshire, England, in 1696 and acquired a 1,034-acre parcel of land up the Chesapeake Bay on the Mattaponi River in Virginia, called Endfield. It would be on that parcel of land two generations later Kunte Kinte, in the book Roots, would spend a great deal of his life.Along the way, Robert Tolbert would create a 52-unit condominium project some 300 years later and he named it Endfield in honor of his roots and colonial history.Tolbert's great-uncle (5) Benjamin Waller, was an attorney in Williamsburg and he mentored George Whythe, who, in turn, mentored Thomas Jefferson. Wythe worked with Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and was the first Virginian signatory on the Declaration of Independence. As America developed and grew, it seemed there would always be growing pains, such as a need for a labor force to work the land and give it value. That led to the United States becoming the only country to rely solely on black slaves after Black Codes were created around 1700 until 1865 in the South.It was a terrible mistake having any kinds of slaves, but black slavery created a curse on America that seems impossible to resolve. It is one of the main goals of this book to put slavery, all slavery, into a historical context and hopefully bring people together and get people to talk about something other than what race we all are - enough - life is too short and racial issues are simply very destructive to us all. In 1895, when South Carolina rewrote their Constitution, the Democrats bypassed the powers of the 15th Amendment and wanted to disenfranchise blacks from voting. Tolbert's relatives, who were staunch Republicans, wanted to challenge Democrats from preventing blacks from voting in a court case that would also create and maintain a two-party system. This led to the Phoenix Riot of 1898 and the killing and wounding of many people. Four of those severely wounded were from the Tolbert family, including Tolbert's grandfather, James Watson Tolbert.James Watson Tolbert had all of his property burned. When the seventeen men who committed the terrorism were charged in court, they were exonerated in nineteen minutes. Vigilante rule and the Democrat-formed Jim Crow laws created after the Compromise of 1877 would prevail for another 80 years, until Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 to undo the damage caused by the Democrat Jim Crow laws.On the day after the Phoenix Riot, November 9, 1898, members of an 800-man mob went through the countryside terrorizing blacks and Tolbert's to prevent blacks from voting. Two of the many places they went were the home of four-year-old Benjamin Mays, who never forgot seeing his father begging for his life and the home of James W. Tolbert, where 125 hooded terrorists told him to leave his home or be killed. Mays grew up to become Americas first great civil rights leader and the President of Morehouse College. He inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. to become a minister instead of a lawyer. Two weeks after the riot, James Watson Tolbert was shot off a roof he was repairing by a group of KKK members and left for dead. Part Two of this book deals with people and issues we all need to explore in order to hopefully preserve not only the Union, but all of mankind and save man from himself.

by Robert Tolbert

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