A Book Review
The Emancipation of Robert Sadler
Over thirty five years ago I sold copies of a book entitled The Emancipation of Robert Sadler in the Christian bookstore I owned at that time. Sadly, I never took the time to read this amazing story of a twentieth-century slave.
The book, graphically penned by noted author Marie Chapian, has been re-issued and this compelling story gripped me and I couldn’t put the book down.
Robert Sadler was sold into slavery at the age of five (5) by his father for $85.00 and spent his childhood and much of his teenage years as a young, black slave in the employ of a cruel, ruthless, white plantation owner in South Carolina.
Chapian has written this account in the third person as though Sadler is relating his own, powerful yet heartbreaking saga of the cruelty, oppression, bigotry and hatred heaped on him by “Massah Beal” and his family. Reading the story where the vocabulary spoken by uneducated, black slaves is often used, the reader is drawn into the daily abuse that Sadler endured at the hands of his master (sic). It’s hard to believe that this treatment of a young boy was so prevalent in the southern United States in the twentieth century.
Sadler thankfully escaped from the plantation when he was fourteen but freedom was such an unfamiliar experience for him that he returned to the plantation as a seventeen-year-old to the comfort (???) of the known and familiar. The Beal family and their plantation had fallen on hard times. “Massah Beal” was very sick, most of the slaves who Sadler knew had died or left and he wasn’t welcomed on his return.
The book hauntingly recounts Sadler’s search for meaning and significance as he moved from town to town, state to state, looking for employment and purpose. As a slave he had experienced God’s love, portrayed by several fellow slaves, but never internalized that faith or belief until later in life when he had a dramatic, genuine encounter with the living God and his life was forever transformed.
Sadler met a woman who loved him unconditionally, they married and began holding church services and Bible studies in their home even though his wife, at that point, hadn’t embraced Christ as her Saviour. Several years later Jacqueline finally surrendered her life to the Lord and the Sadlers were used by God in wonderful ways.
Sadler’s simple faith, his passion to see others share that faith and his absolute trust in God allowed him to see the eternal God do supernatural and miraculous things that most of us will likely never experience in our lifetime.
The Emancipation of Robert Sadler is one of the most powerful books I have read and I’ve read hundreds. The back cover states, “A gritty, raw, real-life tale that will both shock and inspire you.” It certainly did that for me and I very strongly recommend that you get a copy soon and be challenged to the core of your being.
This book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House Publishers". http://www.grafmartin.com/