Today, I was part of J.S. Clark’s (a magnet school in Monroe) African American Activity Day. The school had engaged a number of people to come in. I was a storyteller, sharing with third graders the story of Jim Limber Davis, the free black orphan that Jefferson Davis adopted during the Civil War. I wore my Confederate uniform and took on the persona and name of my Confederate ancestor, William Warren Keel. My ancestor actually worked with units assigned to the gunpowder industry in North Alabama, but today he was a guard at the Confederate White House in Richmond, Va. I made him an eye witness to the story of Jim Limber. The presentation worked and was received very well. I am always excited to share the story of this young orphan, especially since my book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, will be in bookstores beginning in May. Pelican Publishers has it in their spring catalogue. You can find their catalogue on this page: http://www.pelicanpub.com/home.asp
After the story, I did little show and tell with flags, some Civil War relics, and some of my reenactor equipment. I did three, 30-minute presentations. The students were bright, interested, polite, and had tons of questions. The teachers were excited, well in control of their little charges, and grateful for my participation. I enjoyed the day very much. I received a little basket of goodies and a certificate of appreciation for my trouble. (Those certificates are always good for CLU’s). In addition to sharing the story of Jim Limber, I was able to teach a little geography and history generally.
I think it went well, as I’ve already been invited back for next year. I was delighted to be a part of their day, as it is so important to teach African American history, to honor the great black Americans, and perhaps to share with the kids (and teachers) something new. Oh. Funny for the day: A few of them thought I really was born in 1840 as I said I was. God, do I look that old?