Biographies of Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and former President Barack Obama in one volume.
The introduction provides a broad overview of black U.S. history starting with the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 1600s and ending in 2013 with the genesis of the Black Lives Matter movement. The biographies are presented chronologically beginning with Harriet Tubman, “A Woman of Courage.” While her famous code name, “Moses,” is, oddly, never mentioned, the rest of her life is examined, beginning with her childhood (as all the biographies do). In addition to her heroic role on the Underground Railroad, her lesser-known exploits as a scout, nurse, and spy during the Civil War are also chronicled. Next is athlete Jackie Robinson, “Strong Inside and Out.” Emphasis is placed on Robinson’s courage and rightly so, though the idea that he had “guts enough” not to fight back is problematic. Third is “Civil Rights Icon” Rosa Parks. Previous challenges to segregation laws (like Claudette Colvin’s) that paved the way for Parks go unmentioned, but Parks’ lifelong commitment to civil rights is evident. Last is Barack Obama, “First African-American President.” Obama’s childhood as a minority in Hawaii and Indonesia is presented as foundational to his ability to connect with a variety of people, eventually helping him to become president. Photos and historical snippets help add context.
A solid volume on these four great black trailblazers, but the thumbnail biographies of other notable figures at the end beg the question, isn't it time for lesser-known heroes to have their moment to shine? (timelines, glossary, index) (Collective biography. 9-14)