Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America

Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America

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by Tonya Bolden
     
 

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  Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as “the richest black girl in America.” Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns.
Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and

Overview

  Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as “the richest black girl in America.” Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns.
Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a trove of primary documents, including court and census records and interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces together the events of Sarah’s life and the lives of those around her.
The book includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

Praise for Searching for Sarah Rector
STARRED REVIEWS
"This handsome volume with its many photographs is carefully sourced and has a helpful glossary, illustration credits and index. Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author’s note attests."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text."
School Library Journal, starred review
 
"Bolden’s remarks on tracking down Sarah’s story will appeal to those who enjoy untangling historical mysteries."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
★ 01/01/2014
Gr 6–8—When Sarah Rector turned 18 in 1920, the young black woman had amassed a fortune estimated at $1 million. In telling her story, Bolden makes a largely unknown portion of American history accessible to young readers. Rector and her family were "Creek freedmen," black citizens of the Creek Indian nation. When the Creeks were forced to resettle west of the Mississippi in the 1800s, each one received a land allotment. Sarah's contained rich oil deposits, making her enormously wealthy. As a result, there was great media interest in her whereabouts and lifestyle, though much of the reporting was highly inaccurate and speculative. When she disappeared, the black-owned newspaper the Chicago Defender and the NAACP even suggested that Sarah had been kidnapped and that her legal guardians were profiting at her expense. All of this was untrue. In telling Rector's story, Bolden admittedly had to deal with gaps in information. Yet, piecing together the facts clearly reflects Bolden's skill as a history writer-her rigorous questioning of documents; her own clearly stated position on what the "facts" mean; and her extensive use of visual material, such as newspaper articles, maps, paintings, and photographs. In an author's note, Bolden tells how she first learned about Sarah, how she researched her life, and how-in the process-she found evidence that was contrary to what she expected. This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text. Pair it with Bolden's Maritcha (Abrams, 2005), another book that deals with the challenges of writing history when there are gaps in available historical evidence.—Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-23
In 1914, 12-year-old Oklahoman Sarah Rector attracted attention when it became known that the oil found on land allotted to her by treaty was worth a fortune. When Native Americans were forced from lands in the American South, many took their slaves with them to Indian Territory, where they became citizens after the Civil War and, as such, received land allotments. Most blacks farmed the land they received, even though it was often a difficult life. When oil was discovered in Oklahoma territory, the wrangling over the land and profits of minors like Sarah intensified as guardians, some unscrupulous, were appointed to oversee financial affairs. In Sarah's case, the scrutiny included commentary in the black press and even questions raised by the NAACP. This little-known episode demonstrates the confluence of various threads in U.S. history, among them slavery, shifting policy toward Indians and westward expansion. Drawing extensively on primary sources, Bolden has done an admirable job in simplifying a complex situation for young readers. More importantly, she shows how intertwined seemingly disparate historical factors can be. As, unfortunately, there are no first-person accounts left by Sarah Rector, readers don't really get to know the person who triggered the controversy, but the lively narrative makes clear the tenor of the period. This handsome volume with its many photographs is carefully sourced and has a helpful glossary, illustration credits and index. Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author's note attests. (Nonfiction 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419708466
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
721,662
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1050L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Tonya Bolden has written a number of books about the African American experience. Her work has garnered much praise, including the Coretta Scott King Honor Award, James Madison Book Award, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, YALSA Best Book of the Year, and CCBC Best Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.

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Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RIPOFF!!! NOT EVEN100 PAGES!!!! It's not well written!!! I HATE I SPENT 12.00 ON THIS!!!!! Can't get a refund!!! Buyer beware!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for children.  It gives an account of a young creek/African American girl's life. And how the people surrounding her were allowed to take advantage of her circumstance.  Because of her heritage many doors were closed to her but because of her money they opened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago