“The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights,”
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig
What a great tool to counter the cultural stereotyping and racism that is so much a part of American society.
Author Weatherford’s pen is poetic as she walks readers through the history of the Black experience from the ships that carried spiritual-singing slaves through centuries of segregation and bigotry to the hard-fought years of the Civil Rights movement and even up to the glory of the election of the first African-American U.S. President.
The background music for the journey is the Beatitudes, that striking teaching of Jesus that is captured for us in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 5: 3-12).
As your read about the heroes and heroines of Black Americans and see their images in Ladwig’s colorful paintings, you can’t help but recall the phrase “blessed are” for each and every one. Some are their names are well-known to adults — Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. — but may be new to the young readers for whom this Eerdmans title is intended. Other names will be new to adults as well.
Thankfully, a brief biographical paragraph of each individual is included in the back of the book. These short sketches will be educational for young and old alike.
This is a great book to buy for the young readers in your life. Cheat, though. Read it yourself before wrapping it as a gift. Better yet, have that young reader read it aloud to you. You’ll both be blessed. — bz