Thursday, May 14, 2009
OHP BOOK REVIEW: JIM LIMBER DAVIS: A BLACK ORPHANE IN THE CONFEDERATE WHITE HOUSE BY RICKEY PITTMAN
Novel, illustrated, 28 pp., 2007. Pelican Publishing Company, 1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053, $ plus shipping.
Throughout history there are incidents and events that are forgotten or overlooked by time. Jim Limber Davis is one such story that few people would recognize. There are ample primary sources to support his account with the Davis family, but many politically correct historians say he is only a legend.
Rickey Pittman, author of Jim Limber Davis, A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, weaves the tale about this young boy who was a member of the Davis family until the Union army removed Jim by force from his loved ones. Due to the fact that the author takes liberty to add dialogue to this story, the publication is considered a historical fiction; yet, the story line is completely factual. Details such as the President Davis registering Jim as a free black child and becoming Jim’s legal guardian can be proven.
Mr. Pittman allows the chronicle of Jim Limber Davis’s story to come to life for the reader. The story is captivating and informative. The book also contains detailed pictures by Judith Hierstein to help its young audience visualize what the words are portraying. One such illustration is of the First Lady, Varina Davis, reading a night time story to her biological children and Jim. Even though this book is primarily for elementary aged children, any aged reader would find the story fascinating.
Mr. Pittman ends the book with an Epilogue to Parents by stating, “Jim Limber Davis’s disappearance remains one of the great mysteries of the War Between the States. The Davis family searched for Jim for many years, but they never found him. Many scholars and historians have continued the search, but they have failed to discover the fate of Jim Limber, a black orphan in the Confederate White House.” Even though Jim’s life may have been left out of history books, he should never be forgotten. Jim Limber Davis, A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House keeps his memory alive in an informative yet fun way.
Written by Cassie A. Barrow