The Strength of These Arms: Life in the Slave Quarters

Overview

Most slaves lived desperately hard lives, working from sunup to sundown, with few comforts. Yet despite their surroundings, they made homes of what they had. Holding fiercely to their African heritage while adapting to the customs of their strange new land, these first African-Americans handed down a legacy of perseverance and strength. The everyday life of plantation slaves is detailed in text and haunting photographs of recently excavated plantation sites, giving immediacy to the lives of enslaved Africans ...

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Overview

Most slaves lived desperately hard lives, working from sunup to sundown, with few comforts. Yet despite their surroundings, they made homes of what they had. Holding fiercely to their African heritage while adapting to the customs of their strange new land, these first African-Americans handed down a legacy of perseverance and strength. The everyday life of plantation slaves is detailed in text and haunting photographs of recently excavated plantation sites, giving immediacy to the lives of enslaved Africans while paying tribute to the daily courage of a people who endured against all odds.

Describes how slaves were able to preserve some elements of their African heritage despite the often brutal treatment they experienced on Southern plantations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bial offers glimpses of American slavery in this striking photoessay. This volume features clear, color photographs of sites and artifacts, as well as a few early photos of people living under slavery . . . makes slavery in America more concrete than many other books on the subject." Booklist, ALA

"An outstanding addition to any collection." School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Exquisite illustrations and compassionate writing are the hallmarks of this book. The photographs provided by the author tell the whole story. Some are taken of the archeological digs that explore the past. Others feature historic restorations of slave cabins, century old photographs, and items of antiquity. The greatest intensity comes from the comparative pictures of life lived by owners and slaves. The illustrations of tools, furnishings, and buildings speak volumes about the inequities of this era.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8--Bial has produced another excellent-quality photo-essay, this time devoted to life in the slave quarters of large plantations. His well-researched and well-documented text focuses on daily life--showing how slaves tried to preserve their heritage, dignity, and hope in horrific conditions. The author gives insight into the daily routine, explaining that people coming in from the fields often worked in their own gardens "by the light of grease burning in an old skillet." The informative narrative describes the vast difference in lifestyle between the enslaved and slave holders. The juxtaposition of photos underscores this difference. On one page, an elegant plantation dining room is shown opposite a bowl made from a dried gourd used in the quarter; a luxurious bedroom is compared to a slave's rough wooden bed. The striking, full-color photos and reproductions along with an interesting text make this title an outstanding addition to any collection.--Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395773949
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1140L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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