A Long Time Coming: A Lyrical Biography of Race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama

A Long Time Coming: A Lyrical Biography of Race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama

A Long Time Coming: A Lyrical Biography of Race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama

A Long Time Coming: A Lyrical Biography of Race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama

Hardcover

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Overview

This YA biography-in-verse of six important Black Americans from different eras, including Ona Judge, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama, chronicles the diverse ways each fought racism and shows how much—and how little—has changed for Black Americans since our country’s founding.

Full of daring escapes, deep emotion, and subtle lessons on how racism operates, A LONG TIME COMING reveals the universal importance of its subjects’ struggles for justice. From freedom seeker Ona Judge, who fled her enslavement by America’s first president, to Barack Obama, the first Black president, all of Shepard’s protagonists fight valiantly for justice for themselves and all Black Americans in any way that they can.  But it is also a highly personal book, as Shepard — whose maternal grandfather was enslaved — shows how the grand sweep of history has touched his life, reflecting on how much progress has been made against racism, while also exhorting readers to complete the vast work that remains to be done.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781662680663
Publisher: Astra Publishing House
Publication date: 08/08/2023
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 138,364
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Ray Anthony Shepard is the author of Now or Never!: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery, a Carter G. Woodson Award Honor Book and a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book, and Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge, an ALSC and an NCSS Notable Book.

R. Gregory Christie is a recipient of the Caldecott Honor, a winner of the NAACP Image award, and a six-time Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award honoree. His recent Calkins Creek books include Answering the Cry for Freedom by Gretchen Woelfle, which won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award, and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan, which received six starred reviews and for which Christie received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.

Read an Excerpt

This is a work of creative nonfiction told in five story-poems—flash lines of verse, prose, and quotes—
anchored in historical facts. Nonfiction in verse may sound like an oxymoron, a mash-up gone astray, as awful as a sardines-and-sauerkraut breakfast sandwich. Instead, I hope to serve you banana and peanut butter spread on a toasted sesame seed bagel—delicious, but not your usual fare. Nonfiction in verse is my way to tell a story of race in the lives of six
American historymakers who helped form a more perfect
Union: Ona Judge, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman,
Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.
I have not attempted to tell their complete life stories. Instead,
I present scenes from significant events that show how they tilted the country’s moral arc toward liberty, freedom, and justice to make the United States the world’s first major multiethnic democracy. These scenes are authentic moments inspired by real and confirmed facts of our country’s heroic and continuing struggle to become an inclusive democracy. In place of quotation marks, I have italicized all quotes and listed their references in the sources notes. Also, I have capitalized Black and White when pertaining to race.
—Ray Anthony Shepard
 
 
EPILOGUE
The Long Time
 
1796
Ona, not a Judge, but a
Thief.
Did not wait to hear liberty’s
Bell.
Stole what she could not have—
Herself.
It was a long time coming.
 
1838
Frederick Douglass’s lightning
Mind.
Did not wait for Union’s
Victory.
Sparked freedom from heaven’s
Stars.
It was a long time coming.
 
1849
Harriet Tubman fearless
Warrior.
Did not wait for Lincoln’s
Proclamation.
Guided the unfree with her North Star’s
Torch.
It was a long time coming.
 
1892
Ida B. Wells, citizens’
Crusader.
Did not wait to expose
Jim Crow.
Showed the world his brutal
Crimes.
It was a long time coming.
 
1955
Martin Luther King Jr., America’s protest
Preacher.
Did not wait for the Guardians’
Repentance.
Marched evil from the country’s
Promise.
It was a long time coming.
 
2009
Barack Obama, United States
President.
Did not wait for racial hate to
Clear.
Challenged the Guardians to
Change.
It was a long time coming.
 
Today
 
Ona to Obama, red, white, and blue
Sparks.
Did not wait for others to light the
Sky.
Declared a new Fourth of
July.
It was a long time coming.
 
Tomorrow
 
You, you, and you,
Friend.
Do not wait. Their work is not yet
Done.
Push We the people beyond the founders’
Vision.
It was a long time coming.

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