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Curtain Torn
Inspired by the Life of Robert Carter III, of Nomimi Hall, Virginia Who Freed More Slaves Than Anyone in American History

by Larry Buttram


Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall Plantation on the Northern Neck of Virginia was the grandson of Robert (King) Carter, one of the richest men in the country. When he was four years old, he lost both his father and grandfather and inherited their empire. He became the largest slave owner in the country (the Colonies).

At an early age he showed compassion for his slaves, struggling with the idea of owning a human being. It was only when he almost lost his life from smallpox, and after a vision of Jesus proclaiming against slavery, that he decided to free his slaves. There was a provision in the Code of Virginia which stipulated that "it is lawful for any person by last will or other instrument in writing sealed and witnessed to emancipate his slaves."

What he proposed was not well received by many of his fellow slave owners. There was a hearing held to decide if he could exercise the right to free the slaves. That decision led to Carter becoming the man who freed more slaves than anyone in American history.

This is a tale of one man's fight against tremendous odds. It presents a poignant picture of a period of U.S. history that should never be forgotten. It illustrates how one man's resolution and sensitivity affected the lives of several hundred slaves, and the lives of those close to him. It is a fascinating story and one unfortunately never told before.

The Book

New Virginia Publications
April 22, 2009
Trade paperback
Historical fiction / US 1770-1800
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2009
© 2009