Friday, September 10, 2010

Koran Saved from the Flames - 1865

Just a few days before America's Civil War ended in April 1865, Union troops arrived in Tuscaloosa with orders to burn the University of Alabama, including its impressive library.  Pleas to spare the library were denied and it was quickly put to the match.  There was just enough time for someone to run into the library, grab one book, and make his way to safety.  (The burning was likely justified by the Union because of the number of Confederate officers it produced.)

According to the Tuscaloosa News, that book was an 1853 copy of the Koran.  Why it was chosen remains a mystery, but the fact that it was the only book to survive this Union Army atrocity is rather remarkable.

How times have changed.  Today some would burn copies of the Koran or the Bible in order to make political statements.  In 1865, when the Union already had the whole state of Alabama on its knees, but would still purposely burn down a remarkable library in petty retribution, someone managed to save a copy of that same Koran.

The Tuscaloosa News article can be found here, along with a picture of the time-worn Koran saved from the flames on April 4, 1865.

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