In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C Davis
This study of slavery in American offers a unique perspective that is eye-opening. Davis traces the lives of five enslaved individuals, owned by U.S. presidents. Delving into existing documents, Davis has reconstructed the lives of Billy Lee, valet to George Washington; Ona Judge, seamstress for Martha Washington; Isaac Granger, servant to Thomas Jefferson; Paul Jennings, servant to James Madison, and Alfred Jackson, servant to Andrew Jackson. The disparity between the personal lives of these slave owners and each one's published writings and declarations on the topic of liberty is often jarring.
Timelines, interspersed throughout the narrative, follow the history of slavery in the United States and add context. The work is liberally enhanced with photos and copies of primary source documents.
This nonfiction account merits thoughtful consideration and a reexamination of painful chapters from America's past.
Freedom Over Me:
Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
by Ashley Bryant
Ashley Bryant has done it again! He has created another stunning compilation of images and verse. His latest picture book is inspired by a document recording the sale of eleven slaves. Bryant imagines each of the names on the bill of sale as an individual, giving voice to their lives through first person narrative, told with free verse and vibrant illustrations. Readers will view each as a unique and distinctive person, with talents, fears, hopes and dreams.
The stark contrast between the eleven portraits and pages detailing the bill of sale for these enslaved persons is graphically evident. The personal lives spill across the double spread with rich color and text. A monochromatic color scheme reinforces the cold calculation of viewing human as property. Bryant's work offers important insights into the toll that the practice of slavery takes on a society.