Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom

by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, and Diane Dillon

Here are Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. Here, too, are Chloe... read more

Here are Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. Here, too, are Chloe Cooley, Addison White and Jackson of Alabama. Hamilton has gathered together stories of individuals living in the time of slavery and laid them out in a powerful presentation that chronicles this chilling era in American history and the endurance of a people. Some of the names may be familiar to children, many others will not, but each vignette - each life - is compelling and lends itself to a greater understanding of the whole, such as how laws to protect free African-Americans were often ignored, while others were passed to strengthen the grip of owners in the south. In some cases, the vignettes are only fragments, pieces of a life, as if this is all that is known, and these serve as striking, painful reminders of how much has been lost, the "many thousand gone." Modifying her usual descriptive prose style, Hamilton pares language to a minimum here, writing in short, explosive sentences that propell people and events to the forefront, while the Dillons' moody black and white illustrations give shape to sorrow, grief, anger, bravery and pride, and expression to the overwhelming desire to be free. Honor Book, 1993 CCBC Coretta Scott King Award Discussion: Illustration. (All ages)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1993

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