Paul Jennings Books & Biography
Paul Jennings was an American slave (later freed) who served as footman and body servant to President James Madison. When Madison was elected, the ten-year-old Jennings accompanied him to the White House. Jennings served Madison over the course of his two terms as President and after, until Madison’s death in 1836. Madison’s widow, Dolley Madison, inherited Jennings and he was forced to move with her, separating him from his wife and children. Dolley eventually found herself struggling financially and she attempted to sell Jennings. Daniel Webster, the famous U.S. senator, purchased Jennings from Mrs. Madison, giving him his freedom in exchange for work. As a freeman, Jennings worked to help other African Americans escape slavery, and eventually he was able to reunite with his children. In 1865 he published his memoir A Coloured Man’s Reminiscences of James Madison which has since become an important document in early American history.