Cover image for To be a slave
Title:
To be a slave
Author:
Lester, Julius.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Thirtieth anniversary edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
160 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Summary:
A compilation, selected from various sources and arranged chronologically, of the reminiscences of slaves and ex-slaves about their experiences from the leaving of Africa through the Civil War and into the early twentieth century.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1080 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.9 5.0 7123.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 8.6 8 Quiz: 11596 Guided reading level: Z.
ISBN:
9780803723474
Format :
Book

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E444 .L47 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

1969 Newbery Honor Book 1968 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year In an intensely personal new introduction written for this thirtieth anniversary edition, Julius Lester states that at age ten, when his father told him his family's history went back to a bill of sale and no further, the ?words were one of the defining moments of my life.' Approximately fifteen years later he began compiling the words of ex-slaves'a good portion of which had never been previously published'and establishing the structure for To Be a Slave. The ease and speed with which this structure came made him realize that ?this book was one of the things Ahe? had been put on earth to do.' In an equally eloquent, new introductory note Tom Feelings expresses a similar sentiment regarding the personal impact of his work for To Be a Slave and his belief in doing work that ?movAes? us so emotionally, it makes all of us feel its truth way down deep inside.'For thirty years American readers of all ages and walks of life have been affected by the truth of To Be a Slave, which remains one of the few works to present what it felt like to be slave in America in the words of black men and women who lived it rather than filtered through the eyes of others. Paired with Mr. Lester's historical commentary and powerful and soulful paintings by Mr. Feelings, To Be a Slave makes the clear and moving distinction between the generalizations made about slaves and what the emotional reality was for ?human beings Awhose? condition was slavery.'?I am grateful to the parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers who have found ATo Be a Slave? to be of value. Most of all I am grateful to all those who have read it, to all those who read it. History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart, and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own.' ? Julius Lester?The truth can stretch children's minds, stimulate their imaginations in a creative way, and strengthen their spirits.' ? Tom Feelings


Author Notes

Julius Bernard Lester was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 27, 1939. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Fisk University in 1960. He moved to New York to become a folk singer. He performed on the coffeehouse circuit as a singer and guitarist. He released two albums entitled Julius Lester in 1965 and Departures in 1967. His first published book, The Folksinger's Guide to the 12-String Guitar as Played by Leadbelly written with Pete Seeger, was published in 1965.

In the 1960s, Lester was closely involved as a writer and photographer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He traveled to the South to document the civil rights movement and to North Vietnam to photograph the effects of American bombardment. He also hosted radio and television talk shows in New York City.

He wrote more than four dozen nonfiction and fiction books for adults and children. His books for adults included Look Out, Whitey!: Black Power's Gon' Get Your Mama, Revolutionary Notes, All Is Well, Lovesong: Becoming a Jew, and The Autobiography of God. His children's books included To Be a Slave, Sam and the Tigers, and Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue, which won the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King Award in 2006. He also wrote reviews and essays for numerous publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, Dissent, The New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

After teaching for two years at the New School for Social Research in New York, Lester joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1971. He originally taught in the Afro-American studies department, but transferred to the Judaic and Near Eastern studies department when Lester criticized the novelist James Baldwin for what he felt were anti-Semitic remarks. He died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on January 18, 2018 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)