By John Demos
Longlisted for the 2014 nationwide e-book Award
The mind-blowing tale of a unique missionary project—and the the US it embodied—from award-winning historian John Demos.
close to the beginning of the 19th century, because the newly confirmed usa appeared outward towards the broader global, a bunch of eminent Protestant ministers shaped a grand scheme for gathering the remainder of mankind into the redemptive fold of Christianity and “civilization.” Its middle point was once a distinct university for “heathen early life” drawn from all components of the earth, together with the Pacific Islands, China, India, and, more and more, the local international locations of North the US. If all went good, graduates may go back to affix comparable tasks of their respective homelands. For a few years, the college prospered, certainly grew to become particularly famous. in spite of the fact that, whilst Cherokee scholars courted and married neighborhood girls, public resolve—and fundamental ideals—were put to a severe test.
The Heathen School follows the growth, and the dying, of this primary precise melting pot during the lives of person scholars: between them, Henry Obookiah, a tender Hawaiian who ran clear of domestic and labored as a seaman within the China exchange earlier than finishing up in New England; John Ridge, son of a strong Cherokee leader and hence a pace-setter within the strategy of Indian “removal”; and Elias Boudinot, editor of the 1st newspaper released through and for local americans. From its start as a beacon of wish for universal “salvation,” the heathen college descends into sour controversy, as American racial attitudes harden and accentuate. rather than encouraging reconciliation, the varsity exposes the boundaries of tolerance and sets off a sequence of occasions that might culminate tragically within the path of Tears.
In The Heathen School, John Demos marshals his deep empathy and consider for the textures of heritage to inform a relocating tale of households and communities—and to probe the very roots of yank identification.
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Additional info for The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic
This present day it really is higher, and grander, than was once the case centuries in the past. a powerful stonework facade rises above the garden in entrance; a couple of lion statues protect the doorway. (Clearly, even though, those are contemporary additions. ) quickly I’m again at the highway, continuing north. a magnificent Congregational church, in-built 1842 to exchange the unique one at the eco-friendly, stands off to the proper. Its front, framed by means of 4 huge columns, its sparkling white facade, its rows of tall, calmly spaced home windows, its pointed steeple, all shout Greek Revival. simply past lies one other huge construction of comparable shape and classic. This one is vacant this day and in a bit of dilapidated ; through the years, it has housed a succession of faculties, the final of which provided its current identify, Rumsey corridor. after which I succeed in one other early house—a great framed living, its structure conforming to the boxy mode so attribute of nineteenth-century New England. This was once the house initially of the undertaking college steward—John Northrup and family—during numerous serious years. the present proprietor, alerted to my curiosity, is prepared and alluring. a protracted driveway loops round in entrance, amid a spacious garden, magnolia timber, and punctiliously laid out flower beds. I input via front door, crossing a wide stone step, and locate myself in a modestly appointed middle corridor. To the proper, a doorway opens at the preserving room, which stretches the whole north-south size of the home. (“Keeping room” is what the Northrups could have referred to as it; at the present time we'd say lounge. ) at the east wall stands a chimney with hearth; yet either have been further in a while. there's easy wooden paneling throughout, and the various home windows create an ethereal, expansive feeling. The room is huge, approximately twenty-eight via fifteen ft; besides, i'm wondering, may well it relatively have served as a eating area for a few 3 dozen students? My eyes dart round; i attempt to reconstruct. an extended desk the following? a few brief ones there? possibly benches or stools, rather than right chairs? regardless of the association, a truly tight squeeze. around the corridor is a small house used now as a research. Of extra significance is a a bit of higher room, at the northwest corner—now a parlor, as soon as the kitchen. An old chimney, with stone-built base and fireside, dominates the south wall. The large fire contains a beehive oven on the rear. the following, I think, the steward’s spouse and her “assistants” cooked for the full university. And right here, too, the distance turns out quite cramped. a slightly slim stairway with attractively formed railing leads up from the guts corridor to the second one flooring. There, close to front, are equally formed bedrooms. probably those have been for the Northrups’ little ones. i ponder, particularly, approximately their daughter Sarah, who could come to play this type of key function within the higher tale of the undertaking institution. alongside the west wall, the structure turns into extra advanced. At one nook is a huge master suite. For parents Northrup? on the very again is one other hallway, after which, curled in at the back of, a tiny (ten ft by way of 8) application room.