|Slave who went to Congress|
Author: Rosner, Marti
A biography of Benjamin Turner, who spent the first 40 years of his life as a slave, but in 1870 was elected to the U.S. Congress.
|Added Entry - Personal Name:||Gaillard, Frye|
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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 2–6—Gaillard and Rosner use a combination of speeches, writings, and other historical documentation to chronicle Benjamin Turner's journey from enslavement to an educated businessman who eventually became the first African American from Alabama elected to the U.S. Congress in 1870. Turner defied Alabama law, which forbade slaves from learning to read. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, igniting Turner's hope for a future that would allow him to rise above the chains of bondage. An author's note explains where the documentation was procured from, and an afterword explains Turner's life after his election and subsequent defeat for reelection in 1872. The use of primary source material to tell a first-person biography is intriguing and will likely interest educators. However, because the text is taken from speeches and writings created in the late 1800s, some of the language will be challenging for younger readers. The realistic digital illustrations work well to depict the events of the narrative, which will be helpful to young readers trying to interpret the text. VERDICT Turner's lesser-known story will appeal to history buffs and readers looking to discover a new historical figure. A suggested purchase for most youth biography collections.—Ellen Conlin, Naperville Public Library, IL - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.