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New Book Lifts the Veil Off of Ignored Black History in South Carolina

We received this book review, Virtue of Cain: From Slave to Senator, the biography of Lawrence Cain...

Takoma Park, MD – August 21, 2019 – Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s documentary, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, reintroduced America to this overlooked period of American History. Virtue of Cain: From Slave to Senator-Biography of Lawrence Cain examines the short but extraordinary life of a prominent but forgotten member of the majority black South Carolina legislature during Reconstruction.

Lawrence Cain was the slave and biological son of Dr. Sampson V. Cain, the master of ceremonies at the banquet honoring Representative Preston Brooks’ caning of Senator Charles Sumner. Lawrence Cain was a body servant to a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He was shot at Appomattox and was present when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 12, 1865. Upon returning to Edgefield, South Carolina, Cain opened the first black school in the county in 1866. He served as Registrar, Edgefield County, in 1867, and as Commissioner of Elections in 1868. Cain began his two terms as a state representative in 1868. He was a Census Enumerator in 1870. That same year he also served as Warden for Edgefield County and School Commissioner of Edgefield County. In 1872 he became a State Senator. The plan which restored Southern whites to power in 1876 was “The Edgefield Plan” where Democrats used force and violence to fraudulently wrestle the election from Lawrence Cain and the Republicans.

Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, historian and author of “Age of Lincoln”, states that, “Lawrence Cain is a true American hero, and his is a story to be celebrated. In the American South where statues of Confederate generals and white supremacists are memorialized in both books and across the landscape, Lawrence Cain provides an alternative role model to balance the overwhelming Civil War and Reconstruction mythology that has dominated our understanding of those periods in the American South.”

Dr. Burton adds, “As we mark the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the era remains a challenge because there are few other periods in American history where such a wide gap exists between scholarly understanding and public consciousness. Virtue of Cain helps set the record straight and should be read by the public as well as by professional historians.”

1868 photomontage of Lawrence Cain and other South Carolina legislators

This new book may be purchased at Amazon or directly from the author or the publisher. Book Cover Image attached.

About the Author

Kevin M. Cherry, Sr., the great-great grandson of Lawrence Cain, worked in the high tech industry for 30 years. He left Microsoft after 20 years in early 2018 and began his journey to research the facts and uncover the family truth about his paternal ancestor. His inaugural book provides the first comprehensive, chronological account of Senator Lawrence Cain’s life and times.

Contact Information: Rocky Pond Press c/o Natonne Elaine Kemp

[Two photos include the book cover as well the 1868 photomontage of Lawrence Cain and other South Carolina legislators.]

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