This Strange New Feeling: Three Love Stories from Black History

by Julius Lester

First published in 1982, Lester’s three historical short stories about freedom... read more

First published in 1982, Lester’s three historical short stories about freedom are just as fresh today as they were when they were first published. In his introduction to the new edition, the author asks, “What does freedom feel like when it is something about which you’ve only been able to dream? How much are you willing to risk to be free? Are you willing to die?” The three ensuing short stories seek to answer those questions from the points of view of African Americans who sought freedom from slavery in the mid-nineteenth century. Each character is based on a documented person: William and Ellen Craft, who escaped slavery when light-skinned Ellen passed as white with her dark-skinned husband posing as her servant; Ras, a young man who pretends to be stupid in order to gain the information he needs so that he and the woman he loves can escape; and William Yates, a free man of color who tried, unsuccessfully, to buy his wife’s freedom upon his death. As short stories go, each of these is quite long, reading more like novellas, but the complexity of the subject matter and need for historical context call for slightly longer narratives. Author’s notes at the end of the book cite sources for each story’s inspiration. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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