Hope and perseverance are the themes in Webber’s new book

Anything but retiring, retired Episcopal priest Chris Webber will be traveling all this summer to promote his new book, “American to the Backbone.” Photo by Asher Pavel

SHARON — In 1827, at age 19, illiterate and scared, James Pennington escaped from slavery — and soon became one of the leading voices against slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War.

The life of this Yale-educated minister is chronicled in a new book, “American to the Backbone,” by the Rev. Christopher L. Webber, a Sharon resident.

Webber, who is happy to be called Chris, said he wanted to write about Pennington and his life as a way to inspire contemporary African-American teenagers and offer them a positive role model.

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