On a Young Man from Georgia

Soso was born in Georgia in the last quarter of the 19th Century. His dad worked in a shoe store, and his mom cleaned houses. At school, the lad was bright and eager but got into trouble a lot, as boys often do. His mother was very religious while his father drank religiously. Soso decided he wanted to enter the ministry, so he found a local benefactor who agreed to finance his education, and he went to a theology school when he was old enough. Again, his sharp intellect was reflected in the fact that he wrote poems and plays while he studied the ministry; he had a good voice and sang in the choir at church. Some of his poems were even good enough to be published, and some found inclusion in a state anthology of poetry. We’re talking about a young man who, despite his working-class background, was going to make something of himself.

But then something changed, and, to this day, no one is sure what happened or why. He suddenly lost interest in his religious studies. He stopped writing his poems and plays. Without any communication with his benefactor, he stopped his religious studies. He started reading political books, and we are talking about radical political ideology here. In April, 1899, Soso left the seminary and never returned.

Because he was so smart, by October of that same year he had obtained work as a meteorologist at a local weather observatory. He began holding secret classes, indoctrinating anyone who would listen to his radical ideas about politics. You have to remember that this was Georgia during a time when that area was traditional and conservative. Soso had to carry out his political education classes surreptitiously for fear of attracting attention and possibly getting arrested. In a time and place that labor unions were considered to be the opposite of everything Georgia stood for, here he was organizing labor strikes in factories in his area.

Sure enough, his activities roused the attention of the local constabulary. Sure enough, he was arrested and thrown into jail for his political activities. That did not stop him, however. Even in jail, he was preaching his gospel of political equality for the working class of Georgia. Miraculously, he managed to escape prison.

He made it to a place where he could start a newspaper and managed to assume a new identity. There, Soso married a nice girl, and the couple soon had a son, which they named Jacob. Maybe you’re wondering what happened to this smart, driven former seminary student turned political activist from Georgia and why you’ve never heard about him. Well, you have. The Georgia in question is not the U.S. state, but, rather, the nation on the Black Sea. You see, Soso joined up with some other people who believed the same things he did, and, together, they led a major revolution that changed history.

Yes, his family called him Soso, short for Joseph.

Joseph Stalin.

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