I love that reading fiction helps me escape to another time or place, into a world that entertains me and gives me a break from work/house stuff/playing family errand runner and chauffeur. I love it even more when reading a novel teaches me some new things.
The book I read this weekend is a perfect example. Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor is part of the “Quilts of Love” series that Abingdon Press began publishing a few years ago. Each book in the series centers somehow on a quilt. In Path of Freedom, the quilt serves as a map to help guide two slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad (the story takes place before the Civil War).
The main characters, Flora and Bruce, are Quakers. I’ve never known much about Quakers other than they’re pacifists and that many settled in and around Pennsylvania when first coming to the U.S. So, in case you don’t know much more about Quakers than I do, here are a few things I learned (some from Path of Freedom, some thanks to the internet):
- The full name for the group is the Society of Friends (which I’m guessing is what leads to them addressing each other as “Friend Bruce” or “Friend Flora” on many occasions).
- The name “Quakers” originates from the fact that early worshipers would “quake with the spirit of God.”
- Quakers are strong believers in equality among gender, race, and society in general. One verse from the Bible they use to support this view is Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”(NIV)
- The Quakers became the first organization in history to ban slave holding, and in the 1800s Quakers populated the abolitionist movement in numbers far exceeding their proportion of all Americans.
- Women Friends had a role and status more equal with men’s than in any other Christian church. They preached and ministered to mixed audiences, traveled extensively unaccompanied by men, and regulated the lives of fellow Quaker women without men’s assistance (such as in church discipline and marriage arrangements).
- Both Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln had ancestors who were Quaker.
See? You never know what a little reading might teach you. 🙂
I have a soft spot in my heart for Jennifer’s books because we were in an online critique group together years ago and I love to see how well she’s done (plus, I’ve enjoyed all of her stories that I’ve read). If you’d like to learn more about Jennifer and her books, visit her website or Facebook page.
Your turn: Did you know any of these things about the Quakers? Or, what’s something interesting you’ve learned by reading a novel lately? Share with us in the comments!