Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Importance of History

by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Terry Widener

This is the story of a boy who has been born into slavery, but whose father is also his master. His mother tells him that his father is an important man and that someday he will know just how important. 

Eventually, the boy's father keeps his promise and frees the boy and his siblings, but not his mother. She walks away from the plantation and is not pursued. 

The boy's siblings change their names and, passing for white, take on new identities. James keeps his place in the African American community as a well-respected carpenter.

James has a few items that belonged to his father, including an inkwell. He wonders if his father, Thomas Jefferson, used ink from that inkwell to write the Declaration of Independence, or if he used it to record the names of his slaves on his lists of property.

by Ashley Bryan

In the author's note of Freedom Over Me, we learn that Ashley Bryan acquired documents of slavery, including the plantation estate inventory listing the eleven slaves in this book.

Pairs of free verse poems tell about the slaves' lives and work in one, and about their true names, their dreams, hopes and talents in the other.

This important book will help readers understand that there is not one story of Slave or of Slavery. Each and every enslaved person was a unique human being, priceless in ways that no one else could ever own.

These two books can help lay a foundation for a study of the Civil Rights Movement and the importance of holding our nation accountable for the freedoms set forth in our Constitution.

1 comment:

  1. I loved FREEDOM OVER ME. You make me want to hunt down JAMES MADISON HEMMINGS. It sounds terrific!


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