A child born to one free and one enslaved parent grows up to make a difference in the spiritual and secular lives of his people.
Charles Albert Tindley, born in antebellum Maryland, had a difficult childhood, losing his mother while very young and consigned to a life of harsh field work. There he heard the spirituals that the enslaved workers sang and longed to be able to read the Bible stories that inspired them. Once he learned and was able to read aloud in church, he was inspired to continue his search for more knowledge. In time, he married and moved to Philadelphia, eventually becoming pastor of the church whose floors he’d mopped while studying. As his congregation grew, he preached and sang, eventually writing a hymnal containing songs he had composed—songs that have become an important part of the rich musical tradition of the black church. (Lists of popular hymns and of songs quoted in the book appear in the backmatter.) Weatherford tells Tindley’s story in rhyming verse that captures his drive for spiritual growth, service, and musical expression. Collier’s strong, vivid watercolor-and-collage illustrations enhance the text and visually depict the various facets of Tindley’s life. His use of perspective often highlights the pastor’s efforts to connect with issues beyond those of the earthly realm.
A lively salute to an important, influential life of music and service. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography, resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)