Black History Month: Biographies in Retrospect

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hi Everybody,
Black History Month continues, and here are more wonderful books you may want to read as you celebrate the month! Biographies, anyone?

The minute I opened, Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery & the Civil War Through Reconstruction, I was in heaven. Not only is this a breath-taking accomplishment in visual publishing, it is everything a historian could ask for in a history book. Traveling the Freedom Road recreates historical documents from precious Library of Congress archives, and places them side-by-side with the spirited interviews of former slaves who lived to talk about their lives of bondage. It also blends period photographs and illustrations with Barrett’s own insightful prose to describe the harsh realities of early African American life. This timely book addresses a well-known subject from a unique angle; it is part reference book and part biography, and is a “must have” for teachers, historians and lovers of African American history everywhere.

Unchained Memories: readings From the Slave Narratives, from the HBO Documentary, is another outstanding biography. It deals with more than forty slave narratives recorded by government employees in the 1930’s, and pairs them with historical photographs taken during that time period. The result is a riveting book that offers first-hand accounts of American ex-slaves, and the joys, sadnesses and hurdles they had to overcome when they were still in the chains of slavery.

If you’re looking for true stories about American ex-slaves, told in their own words, be sure to pick up one or both of these biographies. You’ll be glad you did.

Best wishes and happy reading,

Rita Lorraine

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