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John Jasper was a noted slave preacher who became a significant community leader in Richmond, Virginia, following the Civil War. Born and raised on a plantation in Fluvanna County, Virginia, Jasper at the age of 13 was hired out to work in tobacco factories in Richmond and later in the coal mines of Chesterfield County. Self-educated and devoutly Christian, Jasper became a very popular slave preacher, in great demand particularly for his funeral orations.