The Slave Who Went to Congress

The Slave Who Went to Congress


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In 1870 Benjamin Turner, who spent the first 40 years of his life as a slave, was elected to the U.S. Congress. He was the first African American from Alabama to earn that distinction. In a recreation of Turner's own words, based on speeches and other writings that Turner left behind, co-authors Marti S. Rosner and Frye Gaillard have crafted the story of a remarkable man who taught himself to read when he was young and began a lifetime quest for education and freedom. As a candidate for Congress, and then as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Turner rejected the idea of punishing his white neighbors who fought for the Confederacy—and thus for the continuation of slavery—believing they had suffered enough. At the same time, he supported the right to vote for former slaves, opposed a cotton tax that he thought was hurtful to small and especially black farmers, supported racially mixed schools, and argued that land should be set aside for former slaves so they could build a new life for themselves. In this bicentennial season for the state of Alabama, the authors celebrate the life of a man who rejected bitterness even as he pursued his own dreams. His is a story of determination and strength, the story of an American hero from the town of Selma, Alabama, who worked to make the world a better place for people of all races and backgrounds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588383563
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Publication date: 02/15/2020
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 270,519
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Frye Gaillard is an award-winning journalist with over 30 published works on Southern history and culture, including Watermelon Wine; Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America; The Books That Mattered: A Reader’s Memoir; Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters; and Go South to Freedom. His most recent book, A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost, is considered by some to be his masterwork. It was selected as one of NPR's Best Books of 2018. Writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama, he is also John Egerton Scholar in Residence at the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Missisippi. He is the winner of the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction Writing, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award For Distinction in Literary Scholarship. In 2019, Gaillard was awarded the Alabama Governor's Arts Award for his contributions to literature.

Marti S. Rosner has been an educator for 41 years. She has worked as a classroom teacher, District Academic Coach serving Title I schools in Cobb County, Georgia, and most recently led writing workshops for teachers and students at her granddaughter’s elementary school. Through the years, she has also enjoyed leading a variety of professional development classes, serving as a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project, and training teachers across the country as a curriculum specialist for Sundance-Newbridge, an educational publishing company. Her two grandchildren keep her active, as they love spending time outdoors. She keeps herself active by reading, writing, and traveling. When she sits still, she enjoys her home in Marietta, GA.

Jordana Haggard is a student at the University of Florida majoring in Digital Arts and Sciences, where she studies animation, digital storytelling, and game design. After graduating, she hopes to find a career in the film industry as a visual effects artist. Having grown up near the ocean in Cocoa, FL, Jordana loves going to the beach and being outdoors when she’s not making art. This is her first illustrated book.

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