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NO MORE! by Doreen Rappaport Kirkus Star


Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-0984-6
Publisher: Candlewick

A poem about the impossibility of enslaving the mind and soul of a person in chains sets the tone for this stunning collection of stories and songs in tribute to slave resistance in America. Working chronologically, Rappaport (Martin’s Big Words, 2001, etc.) is especially interested in the use of song as an instrument of resistance, and she includes well-known spirituals such as Go Down, Moses as well as more obscure songs whose tunes have been long forgotten. Powerful lines such as “Run, nigger, run, patroller’ll ketch ya / Hit ya thirty-nine and swear he didn’t tech ya” tell of unspeakable cruelty and despair; others of defiance and the hope of deliverance. Ranging in acts of rebellion, from planting less corn to learning to read, slave narratives comprise the bulk of the text. Vignettes are included from the lives of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Scobell, Suzie King Taylor, and others who resisted their enslavement physically, intellectually, or spiritually. Rappaport creates several characters that are composites of actual slaves, which seems both unnecessary and potentially confusing when juxtaposed with actual historical figures. Nevertheless, the focus on resistance works well, and Evans’s bold, dramatic oils portray the subject unflinchingly. Oversized pages of thick stock give full range to the power of his art. An excellent account of the many ways in which slaves participated in bringing down the greatest evil in our nation’s history. (author’s note, chronology of important events, bibliography, recommended reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)