JOCKO: A Legend of the American Revolution by

JOCKO: A Legend of the American Revolution

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Jocko, the little black boy who is said to have died holding George Washignton's horse in a snowstorm at Valley Forge, is the legendary model for all those liveried hitching post statues found on American lawns. Koger sees Jocko as an Afro-American hero; he wrote an opera on the theme in 1968 and here he shows the boy listening to his father tell tales of the African homeland, dreaming of General Washington as a man dedicated to liberating all slaves, and praying touchingly for the day when everyone will ""live like one big family"" as he freezes to death under a blanket of drifting snow. Even if Washington had been a great emancipator and even if Jocko's death had been a less pathetic gesture, the desire to provide a sentimental justification for those grinning statues seems just plain misguided. To our knowledge Jocko figurines do not appear on black people's lawns, and this selflessly devoted servant who doesn't know enough to come in out of the cold isn't much of a model.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1976
Publisher: Prentice-Hall