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Black, Blue and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War

Overview

Four-time Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Jim Haskins brings readers face-to-face with the African Americans who fought in the war between the states. Excerpts from letters and government documents introduce the names and places that set the stage for the war's unfolding. Vintage photographs offer a vivid look at the brave soldiers who risked their lives in the fight for human equality. 96 pp. Ages 10 and up. Pub: 1/98.

An historical account of the role of ...

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Overview

Four-time Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Jim Haskins brings readers face-to-face with the African Americans who fought in the war between the states. Excerpts from letters and government documents introduce the names and places that set the stage for the war's unfolding. Vintage photographs offer a vivid look at the brave soldiers who risked their lives in the fight for human equality. 96 pp. Ages 10 and up. Pub: 1/98.

An historical account of the role of African-American soldiers in the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Bruce Adelson
Members of the Hannibal Guards, a black military organization in Pittsburgh, sent a letter to the US military commander of Western Pennsylvania as the Civil War began. In a pertinent part it read, "...as we consider ourselves American citizens... although deprived of all our political rights, we are ... willing to assist in any honorable way or manner to sustain the present Administration... " This poignant quote is but one of many stirring commentaries contained in this well-paced, impressively researched history of African-Americans in the Civil War. Unlike most other children's books about this topic, this one reads like a comprehensive historical account. Its chronological approach to the Civil War and its aftermath includes a discussion of Reconstruction and the US Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896, which enshrined the principle of separate facilities for blacks and whites as long as they were ostensibly "equal." In its treatment of subjects beyond but still inextricably linked to the Civil War, this book provides a superior treatment of this period in history. The author's narrative skills are also a significant factor in making this an excellent choice for young readers, teachers and librarians.
VOYA - Tom Pearson
I really wanted to be able to recommend this book. It is, after all, a most appealing package, with a strikingly attractive dust jacket. Its layout is well conceived and carried out: an easy-on-the-eye typeface is accompanied by numerous, beautifully produced black-and-white photographs. The author does an excellent job of illustrating the mostly involuntary and often ignored contributions of the African Americans to the Confederate cause, and also does a commendable job of explaining the politics behind some of the wartime decisions of Presidents Lincoln and Davis which greatly affected the lives of African Americans. So, what's not to like? The author does not always get his Civil War facts straight. Haskins twice states that Union General Sherman's Atlanta campaign began in May 1863 (it was May 1864). He writes that the federal government granted pensions to many African American ex-Confederate soldiers. This is also wrong: individual former Confederate states granted pensions to ex-Confederate veterans, black and white. The federal government only granted pensions to ex-Union veterans and their widows and orphans: federal pensions were never paid to its former enemies. A chronology states that the important Plessy v. Ferguson legal decision was handed down in 1895 (it was actually done on May 18, 1896). Finally, a photograph that purports to show members of the all-white 1st New York Engineers and the all-black 54th Massachusetts Infantry does not appear to show a single black face. Due to these factual errors, I cannot recommend this book. Should the author and publisher care to do some urgently needed fact-checking and then revise accordingly, I think this title could be a most useful addition to most middle and high school libraries. Index. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. Chronology. Appendix. VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P M J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpHaskins again brings U.S. history to life. This tightly organized book is packed with facts and meticulously footnoted, yet it reads like a novel, thanks to the author's stylistic skills. He dismisses and disproves outmoded historical interpretations that denied black participation in the North's final victory. The facts show that African Americans were anything but passive beneficiaries of a "white man's war." More than 178,000 black soldiers served in Union military units, and casualties were high. The author sets his topic within the larger historical context by tracing the history of slavery and its relation to U.S. politics and economics from the Colonial period to the attack on Fort Sumter. He includes stirring stories of the Underground Railroad and the growth of the abolitionist movement. Dramatic examples punctuate the narrative throughout, among them the moment Frederick Douglass and 6000 followers first heard that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed and the courageous charge upon Fort Wagner by the 54th Massachusetts Regiment (fictionalized in the popular film Glory). While he concentrates on Union forces, the author does not neglect the seemingly incongruous contributions of black Americans to the Confederate armies, sections that may provide surprises for some readers. Period photographs and reproductions and primary-source quotations are used to good effect, and students will benefit from the notes, bibliography, and time line.Starr E. Smith, Marymount University Library, Arlington, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689806551
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 7.86 (h) x 0.66 (d)

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