Talk:Jordan Anderson

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Could we consider moving this to Jourdan Anderson? That is the way he spelled his own name in the letter. You can see that in the image and on wikisource. Ryan Vesey Review me! 16:12, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Is it clear that he actually signed his own name? In the same column, it appears with both spellings, Jordan at the top and Jourdan at the bottom. Most slaves were illiterate and it says the letter was dictated to a journalist so I don't know if there is any official spelling. In that case, I would go with "Jordan" it's simpler. -- Dougie WII (talk) 22:52, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Good point. I didn't consider all of that. Ryan Vesey Review me! 22:57, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

As mentioned above, we can't determine from the primary source letter if it's Jordan or Jourdan since it uses both and unclear who actually penned the letter. The next step is look at secondary sources, but almost all of them are not very reliable in terms of authority: newspaper journalists. However there is one reliable secondary source, Professor Roy E Finkenbine who is writing the first and only biography of Anderson. He gave a talk about Anderson two days ago in Michigan called "Searching for Jordan Anderson: A Personal Journey Into Race And Slavery In America" (Jan 21, 2013). He seems to be the most reliable scholarly source - suggest stick with his lead and use Jordan. -- Green Cardamom (talk) 01:40, 24 January 2013 (UTC)


I've removed the bit about the letter resurfacing in 2012 - while there was indeed renewed interest after it was published on Letters of Note, it had been out there (online and in books) long before with decent regularity. If we were to talk about 2012 as an important year in the letter's history, it would have to be with a lot more context to avoid giving the impression that it had fallen into obscurity for a century and a half. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 20:44, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I think that was the correct move. We did hear about it a lot this year, but that won't mean much years from now.--Chimino (talk) 22:53, 4 September 2012 (UTC)


Sorry for using the DailyMail as a source - it's actually an AP article reprint. I used the DM version since it has some great pictures of his living relatives. If there is a another reliable source for the AP article and pictures please substitute. Green Cardamom (talk) 00:44, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm of the opinion authorship is authorship; it's an AP article no matter the host. DailyMail sells enough advertising it will probably keep the link live for the forseeable future.--Chimino (talk) 10:20, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Letter appearance[edit]

It's been passing around the net since at least 2010, this post on Metafilter for example. Green Cardamom (talk) 07:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Here's a copy from 2002. Green Cardamom (talk) 07:23, 9 September 2012 (UTC) of the earliest posts ever on Metafilter in 2000. This one is sourced to a scanned jpg image from the book it was originally in. It's a university seminar URL so was probably being used in a class at UVA. 12 years later the story continues to grow.. next will be TV. Green Cardamom (talk) 07:31, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Here's a history class assignment from 1992. Probably the letter was taught by historians before the Internet, but the Internet made it available to a wider audience as an Internet meme. Green Cardamom (talk) 07:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree it's been online for a while (that's why I reverted the removal of the bit about made it seem as though Johnson's investigation came right after it appeared online). –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 16:17, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand. The source doesn't mention 2012 nor the Internet at all. We have no idea when where or how Michael Johnson first learned of the letter or began investigating it. Green Cardamom (talk) 18:50, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I think maybe you were trying to say two things in the same sentence -- 1) the letter became popular on the internet in 2012 and 2) M. Johnson investigated the letter. It made it seem as if M Johnson began investigating the letter in 2012. I think the "popularity on the internet in 2012" is hard to source reliably since above it's apparently been well known for a long time, even on the Internet. It will be difficult to write about the letter's popularity on the internet without a secondary source discussing since it would rely on primary sources ("see this instance, and this instance, and therefore.. it was popular" ie. original research). Green Cardamom (talk) 18:57, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm fine with removing the date entirely, which isn't particularly important. Hopefully at some other point we can elaborate on the history of its reception. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 19:35, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Letter text needs to be easily available[edit]

The full text of the letter should be available in the article, or the link should be easy to find in the section on the letter itself.

In the 'letter' section, the only link is apparently to an audio version of it at 5 minutes long. Who has time to sit and listen to that?

The included original newspaper scan of the actual full text of the letter is at an unreadable resolution, even if maximized on an iPad it's way too blurry to read. That's not very helpful.

I had to follow a link to the Huffington Post to get the actual text -- for some reason they don't discuss the letter without including the text so that one can scan it quickly.

It was only after looking for a link to post this comment that I was able to find what appears to be the link to the,letter itself on another wiki, way at the bottom of the article on the person. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

That would require someone typing up the letter and adding it to wikisource.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:02, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

The Wikisource link is at the bottom of the page per standard layout. However I agree the text of the letter should be more accessible so I added an additional link to the text in the audio box so it serve double duty without cluttering up the letter section with two boxes (one for audio and one for text). Green Cardamom (talk) 18:18, 28 September 2012 (UTC)


I'm thinking he could read. For many years, I've been researching my genealogy and looking to see if our lines meet in Tennessee. After the Civil War, my great grandfather was an armed guard on the railroad west. He ended up in Peabody and married into the Anderson family where they talked about the gunfighters in Dodge like folks gripe about gangbangers. Does anyone know of the proximity between the Rickman plantation and the Anderson plantations? I would love to know, one way or the other. Thanks (um, I'm new to commenting on wiki, is this how it's done here?) — Preceding unsigned comment added by TheGeekGoddess (talkcontribs)