THE RICHES OF OSEOLA McCARTY by Evelyn Coleman

THE RICHES OF OSEOLA McCARTY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Coleman (To Be a Drum, p. 264, etc.) writes with feeling of an African-American woman whose work ethic proved inspiring. At the age of five Oseola (Ola) McCarty moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with her grandmother and aunt. Both the women worked hard every day, and Ola was taught to do all the things they did, from making soap, to washing the clothes by hand on a washboard, to heating the irons on the stove to press the stubborn wrinkles out of the damp garments and linens. For their backbreaking work, which started at seven in the morning and lasted until late at night, Ola and her grandmother were paid 50 cents a bundle--as much as a customer could tie into a bedsheet. Still, Ola learned that it was important to save as much as she could every week in a bank account. A lifetime later, at 87, Ola had to quit working for health reasons, but wondered what to do with the considerable amount of money she had saved; she decided to give most of what she had--well over $150,000--to the University of Southern Mississippi for a scholarship fund, which was named for her. The action brought her fame and many awards, but Ola remained the frugal person she had always been. The story, illustrated with black-and-white woodcut-like prints, is full of wisdom and quiet courage; readers will be drawn to the simplicity of the habits that led to Ola's riches. A small, fine book.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1998
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Whitman