“This book, though centered on the enslavement of Africans, is broad in its scope, starting with a nod to the 1619 Project and ending with a look at Black Lives Matter protests. The unifying thread is Black people’s acts of resistance, both small and large, against having their rights and freedoms violated. Approaching the topic of slavery in this way marks a compelling shift in how this period of American history has traditionally been told. Indeed, Lewis tells it like it is (‘Slavery was rooted in white supremacy’) without letting the text become politically charged.
A quick history of slavery is given before looking at rebellions, such as Joseph Cinqué’s 1839 uprising aboard the Amistad, the Underground Railroad, and the role of antislavery newspapers in achieving abolition. Also incorporated are primary sources (including QR codes to Library of Congress recordings and salient quotes), reflection and activism prompts, and a Read Woke reading list for those who want to learn more. An excellent starting point for researchers.–starred, Booklist
This series is part of the Read Woke Books imprint in partnership with Cicely Lewis, who wrote the introductory letter found in each book. The titles cover events and important figures from the beginning of slavery in America up through the Jim Crow era. A note encourages readers to view the photos and illustrations critically and additional reflection questions are scattered throughout the books. In ‘Primary Source Voices, ‘ QR codes access recordings of formerly enslaved persons or other historical narratives, while the ‘Take Action’ section offers virtual trips to national historic sites and museums as well as ideas for how to become politically active. There is also a Read Woke reading list in the back matter of each title. VERDICT An important purchase for those who want to broaden the perspectives in their American History collection.–School Library Journal