1898 Wilmington is an exciting time and place for a boy. Unfortunately, if you are a black boy, it can also end up being dangerous, as Moses soon learns. Only one generation away from slavery, Moses see that hostilities are still alive and well between blacks and whites. Yet he is proud of the fact that his father is not only one of the black aldermen, but also an employee of the largest negro run newspaper. It quickly becomes apparent that some people will go to any means necessary to prevent black men from gaining power, and Moses' life will be forever changed.
This book broke my heart, because while I knew it was fiction, I also knew it was based on very real historical events. The coup described in the book actually happened, and is a dark period in Southern history. And while the tale is one of sorrow, I think it is incredibly important that our youth learn these stories, so I am incredibly thankful that writers like Barbara Wright set their books against the historical backgrounds of oppression and racism. These are not easy tales to tell, but it is so important that they be told.
Books like this allow history to come alive for young adult readers, sparking an interest in both literature and history. I thought the characters were so vibrant in this book, and the story was very representative of postbellum, post reconstruction Southern life. The language and dialects sound authentic, and while there are some racial slurs used, it is within the scope of the story, being used by racist characters to represent their attitude. I think this is a wonderful middle grades book, and would be highly appropriate to read during Black History Month.
I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine program.
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