Publication date: May 21, 2015
Publisher: Dictionary of Virginia Biography
This text is a concise, but highly informative, encyclopedia entry published by the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.(see link above) This text describes the life of Peter K. Jones, an African-American man, who served most notably on the Virginia State Legislature from 1867-1876. This entry follow Jones’s entire career, as the text is split into various categories beginning with his early years, honing in on his political career, with sprinkles of his personal life inserted, and ending with his death in 1895. Most importantly to this text set, this encyclopedia entry explicitly documents Jones’s political career during the years of Reconstruction. This is imperative because it highlights an African-American man serving in the State Legislature just a few of years after slavery was abolished in the United States- a juxtaposition indicative of this peculiar time in American history.
The Flesh Kincaid analysis places this entry at a 14.9 equivalent to a sophomore or junior in college, which is grossly exaggerated. The vocabulary is easy to understand, and students should recognize the content, if there is an event students do not recognize, there are hyperlinks present, which they could click on to further explain the ideas. The concepts within the entry are presented logically, as they are formatted chronologically starting with Jones’s early years extending to his death in 1895. The entry is also separated by sub headings improving the organization, and allowing students to better understand the content. The major ideas are highlighted and students are able to click on them for further explanation.
The writing is presented in a way that this entry would be useful for a multitude of students. The ideas are presented clearly and directly, with no mechanical mishaps, or grammatical errors. This entry is also appealing as it provides pictures in the side margins allowing students to put real faces to the people being discussed. There is also a timeline present for students to see all the events in a clear, chronological format. Overall, the information presented in the biography is helpful and ranges in age use. Most importantly, the information is factual, and has been impressively fact checked.
Use in Class
This particular entry is extremely useful for students trying to understand the Reconstruction Era. Moving away from the textbook, students will be able to use Peter K. Jones’s life as an example to understand how both amazing and peculiar Reconstruction was. By analyzing the encyclopedia entry, students will be able to comprehend the ways in which Blacks participated, politically, just years after the Civil War. Jones is an excellent example to use because he not only participated in political events, but as the entry notes, he used his platform to advance the rights of African-Americans; thus, Reconstruction was not only an era in political progress for Blacks but social progress as well. Students will understand that this was a triumphant time in American history, while becoming aware that in just a couple of years the jubilant time will quickly come to an end with the rise of Jim Crow. This entry provides a great compare and contrast strategy, weighing Peter K. Jones’s life against the drastic and unfortunate change southern African-Americans will have to face with the onset of the 20th century and Jim Crow.
Submitted by Brittany Jones