What Love Can Do

Recollected Stories of Slavery and Freedom in New Orleans and the Surrounding Area

by Arthur Mitchell & Editor Gayle Nolan

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Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 07/02/2012

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 118
ISBN : 9781452546247

About the Book

Henry Goody Johns was the eldest son of a beautiful young slave girl from East Central Africa and her Louisiana Master. Given the choice by his father to pass for white or to remain a slave, Johns chose to forever identify with his black mother and siblings, later becoming a pastor to his community after the Emancipation Proclamation.

This volume of stories about Henry Goody Johns, who taught his people "What Love Can Do" is oral history at its best. It has been passed down from a generation of an enslaved people who came to learn that prejudice and hatred is a greater form of slavery than bondage itself.

This memoir as written by Arthur Mitchell, a descendent of slaves on the Jons Plantation, has been preserved as closely as possible to its original form.

About the Author

Arthur Mitchell was born in Irontown, Louisiana, on August 24, 1915. During his early childhood, he moved with his family to the French Quarter of New Orleans. There, he and his siblings sat around a coal or wood stove at night, listening to family stories about the descendents of a beautiful young slave girl from East Central Africa sold in 1810 to a French farmer in the New Orleans area.

Later, Mitchell realized that the stories so precious to him needed to be preserved after his death, and he began writing them down in fifteen-minute segments during his work breaks at the Cabildo in New Orleans. His original 150-page, hand-written memoir was lost in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, when the levee broke just two miles from his house in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. Fortunately, one copy was preserved by Gayle Nolan, who has edited and prepared the manuscript for publication.