Curry Class Note

Robert F. Jackson, Jr.

Robert F. Jackson, Jr. (B.S. ’70) Book covercompleted a five volume series based upon the marriage of a young, female, Navajo refugee from the Long Walk of the Navajo People in 1864 and a young Virginian (and Confederate veteran). They are the focal point for the stories of others as well. In volume four, the series travels back to the Shenandoah Valley and to the woman’s Navajo homeland in Arizona, as each takes their spouse home with them for a visit. In volume five most of the story is set in the Philippine Islands (in 1902) during the American conquest there.

This is the story of a mixed marriage of courage during racially charged times and of two people who are intelligent and opportunistic enough to have educated themselves academically as well as in worldly ways. In that sense they reach a pinnacle when they are befriended by a University of Virginia professor and his wife during a train trip from Knoxville to Charlottesville in book four. That chance encounter results in the Westerners dining with Virginia faculty on two occasions. During one such dinner, the Navajo woman is the object of questions about her culture, and is, in a sense, the guest of honor. The respectful treatment of her by these educated people is a personal watershed moment in the life of a woman who lacks a blatant ego and prideful ways. It reveals respect for her intelligence to a woman who has already proven herself with several heroic deeds in the rugged mountains and desolate plains of the West.

This is a classic but unusual Western adventure series that attempts to be dramatic yet ordinary. It attempts to say that: The bulk of people who populated the Great American West were just ordinary, good individuals (rather than desperados), but their reaction to circumstances (bad things and bad people) proved many of them to be courageous heroes and heroines.

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