Booklist Reviews

K-Gr. 4. Kids at a community center learn about Martin Luther King Jr and his principles of nonviolence from center director Dave, who tells of King's pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Featuring archival footage and age-appropriate explanations, the program describes the early days of segregation and defines such terms as equal rights, freedom, boycott, and protest. King's many contributions are discussed, and children receive a sense of the courage it took to stand up for equal rights. Directions for creating a simple craft project (a "dream mobile" showcasing children's dreams for their futures) are also included. See also Remembering September 11th [BKL N 1 02], another title in the Holidays for Children series. ((Reviewed February 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews

This account of the historical events that led to the emancipation of slaves and the end of the Civil War is unfocused and superficial. Personal narratives, extracts from diaries, and other documents (some of which don't include sources) presented as boxed text are meant to add depth and authenticity but more frequently are merely distracting. Timeline. Bib., ind. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

The McKissacks (Miami Sees It Through, not reviewed, etc.) have written a much-needed overview of how slavery came to an end. Slavery in the US did not end on one officially recognized day, but gradually, at different times for different people. The Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, only ended slavery in the Confederate states, thus could not be enforced, freeing no one and leaving close to a million people enslaved in the Border States. Yet, blacks, abolitionists, and politicians such as Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner cheered the document as "a promise of things to come." It included a clause that opened the army to African-Americans, who could now fight for their own liberation, a cause championed by Frederick Douglass. The Union army had become an army of liberation, and eventually black soldiers accounted for ten percent of the Union army and navy. December 18, 1865, was the true Day of Jubilee, the day the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery forever. The text effectively explains the political issues from the Missouri Compromise of 1820 through the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, Lincoln's evolution into "The Great Emancipator," the role played by Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists, and key events of the war itself. Excellent use is made of primary sources: slave narratives, diaries, and autobiographies, newspapers, documents, and archival photographs. Sidebars, song lyrics, and the inclusion of many players-major and minor-add to the nicely designed volume. Unfortunately, occasional small errors and awkward writing mar an otherwise fine offering, as do the lack of a map and the inclusion of a bibliography with few resources for young readers. Still: an important work and an essential purchase. (introduction, time line, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly Reviews

"There wasn't one day when all the slaves were freed at the same time," write the McKissacks (Rebels Against Slavery) in this compelling chronicle of slavery's demise in America. "Whenever slaves learned they were free, that day became their Jubilee." The authors begin with the tenuous compromises made after the Revolutionary War and underscore historical events by weaving extensive quotes from slave narratives and the stories of contemporary persons. They include not only the famous, such as President Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but also citizens such as James Forten, an African-American businessman who "was shocked and dismayed when the United States Constitution was ratified without abolishing slavery" and who worked actively as an abolitionist throughout his life. Sideline perspectives like that of Southern slaveholder Mary Chestnut, whose diary documents her views on the Civil War, offer additional texture. Tinted sidebars provide expanded profiles, including that of Philip Coleman, an enslaved coachman who "prided himself on being a gentleman's gentleman" until he witnesses the death of white men at the hands of Union soldiers, and realizes that "his master is not invincible as once he'd thought" and runs away. The McKissacks ably balance the nation's gradual progress with heartrending examples of prejudice even after the Civil War that illustrate how far the nation still needed to go to achieve true equality. The inclusion of individual voices and life stories lends this well-researched overview of emancipation a sense of immediacy and relevance for today's readers. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4-8-In this readable, well-organized book, the McKissacks make extensive use of firsthand slave narratives collected in the 1930s. As well as documenting the gradual end of slavery, they discuss many other historic events and controversies, using the viewpoints recorded in Southerner Mary Chestnut's Civil War diary and other primary sources. Brief descriptions of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the unequal treatment of African Americans by whites in both the North and the South after slavery ended, and the progress made by the civil rights movement are included. A sidebar erroneously states that "-a slave ship-docked in Mobile Harbor at night on July 9, 1866.-Fowler couldn't sell the slaves, so when the Civil War began, he set the captives free." The book is illustrated with many historical duotone photographs and engravings, but there is no map showing the battles described in the text. Readers familiar with Civil War history will be fascinated by the wealth of information on African Americans' contributions to the war effort, but those researching only the end of slavery may feel overwhelmed by tangential accounts of battles and military leaders. A useful resource for most collections.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

The McKissacks draw from diaries, letters, slave narratives, and other primary sources to tell the story of the end of slavery in the United States. The chronicle begins with background on important historical developments in Colonial America and the United States prior to the Civil War, including a discussion of the work of leading abolitionists. Considerable space is devoted to the Civil War, the role of African Americans in it, and the reality that Northerners were not united in viewing the war as one to end slavery. The authors also make the important point that freedom did not come for all slaves at the same time. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation meant little while the war raged on. The book also makes note of the fact that freedom did not automatically mean good, comfortable lives for emancipated slaves. Freedom was not the same as equality, which would be a long time coming. Period photographs and other artifacts with informative captions appear throughout the book. Lengthy quotes from primary sources enhance the authenticity of the text. This book is an engaging, informative, and highly readable account of an important time in American history.-Ed Sullivan. Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Chronology. 4Q 2P M Copyright 2003 Voya Reviews