Mary McLeod Bethune: Voice of Black Hope

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of 17 children born to former slaves, Bethune made the most of her life, creating opportunities for herself and other black people. This addition to the Women of Our Times series is an admiring, factual account of her achievements: founder of what later became Bethune-Cookman College; advocate for blacks during the New Deal; organizer, spokeswoman and visionary leader. Though Meltzer said more about the private life of his subject in Dorothea Lange: Life Through the Camera, he is characteristically good at sketching a historical context. Against the background of racial violence in the early 1900s, he states, ``Mary Bethune's struggle for decent education and equality appears heroic.'' (7-11)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6 There is nothing new or different here, and although clear language is used, the style appears to be oversimplified. Rich and colorful language such as that found in Sterne's Mary McLeod Bethune (Knopf, 1957; o.p.) and in Peare's biography of Bethune (Vanguard, 1951) is missing here, and the absence is noticeable. More disturbing are the instances of stereotyping found within the first five pages, such as the description of blacks eating, drinking, and dancing in the moonlight after the day's arduous work is done. The most offensive is the description of Mary's beloved grandmother: ``She was ancient now, wrinkled and toothless, her white hair always bound in a red bandana.'' These regrettably negative passages help considerably to lessen one's enthusiasm for reading this biography of an outstanding black American woman whose life achievements deserve their truth to be described in sensitive and caring words and phrases. Full-page black-and-white line drawings are decorative and appealing as they reinforce story detail. One discrepancy, however, is the illustration of Granny Sophia, who is neither wearing a bandana nor appears toothless, as the text describes. Also, because of the brief text and numerous story events, the position of illustrations is seldom in proximity to the text that it is intended to enhance. It is preferable, overall, to recommend Sterne's and Peare's books when appropriate. They provide the truth with what seems to be missing herepoetic beauty without condescension. Helen E. Williams, University of Maryland, College Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140322194
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/28/1988
  • Series: Women of Our Time Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.19 (d)

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