Sweet Land of Liberty

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Marian Anderson's concert on Easter Sunday, 1939, at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, has become an important landmark in African American history. Hopkinson relates the story of how a white man, Oscar Chapman, President Roosevelt's Assistant Secretary of the Interior, arranged it when no concert hall would allow a non-white artist to perform. At the Memorial, there could be no segregation. Chapman had been aware of the unjust treatment of African Americans since his childhood in rural Virginia. With the approval of the president, Anderson sang to an enthusiastic audience of 75,000. Chapman went on to open parks and pools in Washington, D.C., to all races. And Martin Luther King, Jr., made his most famous speech in that appropriate location. Jenkins uses mixed media to compose his impressions on double pages, which also include the ample text. His palette favors saturated greens and browns, depicting the historic episodes in linear and patterned panels with sketchy pastel lines in and around. He creates serious scenes, spiritually profound but far from somber. Images of key figures like King, Roosevelt, and of course Anderson are integrated into the visual tapestry. In a note, the author adds information about her research and discoveries.
School Library Journal

K - Gr 4 - As Assistant Secretary of the Interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Oscar Chapman played a vital role in securing Marian Anderson's use of the Lincoln Memorial as a venue for her free concert in 1939. Hopkinson ties incidents from Chapman's childhood to his efforts on Anderson's behalf, establishing that he never shied away from controversy. His refusal to testify against two African-American friends unfairly accused of stealing demonstrates a long history of opposing injustice. This sets the stage for the adult Chapman's willingness to find the perfect location for Anderson's performance and his work for FDR's approval. He also ensured that every V.I.P. in Washington was personally invited to attend. Of course, the event was a blazing success and remains a touchstone of the Civil Rights Movement. Hopkinson's slant on Chapman's contributions provides food for thought. The mixed-media illustrations succeed best when the action shifts to Washington where Jenkins can rely on the historical record in composing his work. The earlier scenes are confusingly jumbled. An endnote lists some of the author's sources, but none of the quotes in the text are specifically cited. Still, the book could provoke meaningful discussion about character formation and civic responsibility.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561453955
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,397,797
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.60 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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