Celebrate George Washington's birthday by reading American Revolutionary history.
|Answering the Cry for Freedom: |
Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution
Written by Gretchen Woefle
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Calkins Creek, 2016
Ages 9-12, 240 pages, 1040L
History, Slavery, Revolutionary War, Biography
In 1775, when the American Revolution began and colonists took up arms to free themselves from British rule, slavery existed in every one of the thirteen colonies. In 1776, when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring that “all men” were entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” they didn’t really mean everyone. The American Patriots did not fight to give life, liberty, and basic civil rights to five hundred thousand African Americans enslaved in the North and South. Yet African Americans living in Boston, where Patriot passions blazed, and those living on isolated southern plantations heard talk about liberty and equality.
And those ideas were as contagious as smallpox.
In 1775 and again in 1779, the British issued a proclamation offering freedom to slaves owned by Patriots. Hundreds, then thousands of men, women, and children fled to British army territory—and freedom. Sixty thousand African Americans became Black Loyalists—loyal to Great Britain—because this was their best chance for freedom.
George Washington understood their choice. He wrote: “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” Among African Americans, the “liberty plant” took root in many places, in many ways. Most slaves in the American colonies did not flee to the British during the Revolution. But they sought freedom in other ways: by joining the Continental army, by buying their freedom from their owners, and by running away. Then came their struggle for equality.
This book tells the story of a hidden chapter of the American Revolution: how African Americans answered the Revolution’s cry for freedom...
Even as American Patriots fought for independence from British rule during the Revolutionary War, oppressive conditions remained in place for the thousands of enslaved and free African Americans living in this country. But African Americans took up their own fight for freedom by joining the British and American armies; preaching, speaking out, and writing about the evils of slavery; and establishing settlements in Nova Scotia and Africa. The thirteen stories featured in this collection spotlight charismatic individuals who answered the cry for freedom, focusing on the choices they made and how they changed America both then and now. Includes individual bibliographies and timelines, author note, and source notes
— from the publisher's website
This book features important figures in history presented with striking honesty. The text is readable, enjoyable, educational. The author makes the people come alive, though the facts about them are limited. She delves into their motives and allows us to view a more comprehensive picture of early America. I had of course heard of Oney Judge and James Lafayette, but Paul Cuffe and John Kinzell were completely new to me. I appreciated the way Woefle integrated the biographical facts into the setting, grounding her portraits and making them absolutely relatable to her audience. While I definitely recommend this book for the classroom, I am sure the engaging style will appeal to recreational readers as well.
1. If you enjoyed Answering the Cry for Freedom, you may like Gretchen's historical picture books: Write on Mercy!: The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren and Mumbet's Declaration of Independence.
|Write On, Mercy!, |
by Gretchen Woefle and Alexandra Wallner
|Mumbet's Declaration of Independence, |
by Gretchen Woefle and Alix Delinois
To read more about a full-spectrum Revolutionary War, visit Africans in America, The National Parks Service, or AmericanRevolution.org
You'll find a few more biographies on the American Thinker website.
3. Other MMGM reviewers recommend
The Seeds ofAmerica trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson, Covers by Chris Silas Neal.
|Chains, book #1|
Reviewed by Sue
|Forge, book #2|
Reviewed by Joanne,
Marsh and Emiline
|Reviewed by Karen|
|The Underground Abductor,|
by Nathan Hale
Reviewed by Aeicha
|Shackles from the Deep,|
by Michael H. Cottman,
Reviewed by Greg
|The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox|
Cover Art by Wendy Popp
Reviewed by Pam
of Olaudah Equiano
|The truth about |
of Phyllis Wheatley
Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!
Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for February 20, 2017.
MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?