From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas

Black History Month 2007

Beginning as Negro History Week in 1926, and expanding to Black History Month in 1976, February for decades has been a time to recognize the active role and valuable contributions of African Americans in the shaping of the United States. This effort is spearheaded by the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH), which sets an annual theme emphasizing various elements of African American history, culture, and experiences. The National Black History Theme for 2007 is “From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas.”*

The following is a list of titles found in the Education S-Collection which relate directly to this year’s National Black History Theme, as well as several relevant web sites. Additional information on locating other titles relevant to African American history can be found at the end of this entry.

*Source: The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History
Fiction Titles

Lester, Julius.
Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue. 2005.
Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances’s mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave “assets,” possibly including Emma.
[Education S-Collection: S. L567d]

Mosley, Walter.
47. 2005.
Number 47, a fourteen-year-old slave boy growing up under the watchful eye of a brutal master in 1832, meets the mysterious Tall John, who introduces him to a magical science and also teaches him the meaning of freedom.
[Education S-Collection: S.M853f]

Woodson, Jacqueline
Show Way. 2005.
The making of “Show ways,” or quilts which once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family.
[Education S-Collection: S.W868s]

Walter, Mildred Pitts.
Alec’s Primer. 2004.
A young slave’s journey to freedom begins when a plantation owner’s granddaughter teaches him how to read. Based on the childhood of Alec Turner (1845-1923) who escaped from slavery by joining the Union Army during the Civil War and later became a landowner in Vermont.
[Education S-Collection: Q.SE. W171a]

Wait, Lea.
Seaward Born. 2003.
In 1805, a thirteen-year-old slave and his friend make a dangerous escape from Charleston, S.C. and stowaway to head north toward freedom.
[Education S-Collection: S.W134se]

Nolen, Jerdine.
Big Jabe. 2000.
Momma Mary tells stories about a special young man who does wondrous things, especially for the slaves on the Plenty Plantation.
[Education S-Collection: Q.SE.N717b]

Siegelson, Kim L.
In the Time of the Drums. 1999.
Mentu, an American-born slave boy, watches his beloved grandmother, Twi, lead the insurrection at Teakettle Creek of Ibo people arriving from Africa on a slave ship.
[Education S-Collection: Q.S.Si154i]

Non-Fiction Titles

Kramer, Ann.
Blacks in America. 2005.
Explores the history of Black people in America, how they got here, their years of slavery, their right to freedom, and the constant battle for equality.
[Education S-Collection: S.973 K8601b]

Cloud Tapper, Suzanne
Voices from Slavery’s Past: Yearning to be Heard. 2004.
Contains compelling stories about slaves, slave owners, abolitionists, and the whole concept of how slavery affected America
[Education S-Collection: S.973 C624c]

Hatt, Christine.
The African-American Slave Trade. 2003.
Recounts the history of slavery and the slave trade in the United States discussing the causes, the slave experience, the Civil War, and Reconstruction and its aftermath.
[Education S-Collection: S.306.3 H287a]

Lilly, Melinda
From Slavery to Freedom. 2003.
Introduces the Underground Railroad, a group of people and places through which runaway slaves escaped to freedom before the Civil War.
[Education S-Collection: S.973.7115 L628f]

Rappaport, Doreen
No More!: Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance. 2002.
Songs, stories and poems about slavery and the struggle to maintain dignity and freedom.
[Education S-Collection: Q.S.306.362 R182n]

Diouf, Sylviane A.
Growing Up in Slavery. 2001.
Examines what life was like for children who grew up as slaves in the United States, describing the conditions in which they lived, the work they did, how they were educated, and their efforts to obtain freedom.
[Main Stacks: 306.362083 D624g]

Rappaport, Doreen.
Freedom River. 2000.
Describes an incident in the life of John Parker, an ex-slave who became a successful businessman in Ripley, Ohio, and who repeatedly risked his life to help other slaves escape to freedom.
[Education S-Collection: SB. P241r2000]

Materials on the Web
The following web sites contain materials that are particularly relevant to the 2007 National Black History Theme: “From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas.”

Africans in America
This PBS site provides narrative, images, and other resources about the African American experience from 1450-1865.

African American World
Another PBS website that explores the role of African Americans in History, the Arts and Culture, and Society. A children’s version of the site is available at

Kids’ Place: African American History
The Newark Public Library Kids’ Place offers a good list of links to sites related to African American history and culture.

Lest We Forget
A web presentation of the history of slavery and African American culture in the Americas created by the New York Public Library and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The Underground Railroad
An interactive journey through the Underground Railroad, created by National Geographic.

Finding More Black History Month Materials in the Education S-Collection

Biographies of Important African Americans: Enter one of the following combinations into a subject search in the UIUC online catalog:
African Americans–biography–juvenile literature
African Americans–biography–juvenile fiction
African Americans–biography–juvenile poetry

African American History: Enter one of the following combinations into a subject search in the UIUC online catalog:
African Americans–history–juvenile fiction
African Americans–history–juvenile literature

African American Life, Heritage, and Culture: Enter one of the following combinations into a subject search in the UIUC online catalog:
African Americans–juvenile literature–bibliography
African Americans–juvenile poetry
African Americans–juvenile literature
African Americans–juvenile fiction

(Information compiled by graduate assistant Jennifer Erbach)