DAYS OF JUBILEE by Patricia C. McKissack


The End of Slavery in the United States
Age Range: 9 - 13
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The McKissacks (Miami Sees It Through, not reviewed, etc.) have written a much-needed overview of how slavery came to an end. Slavery in the US did not end on one officially recognized day, but gradually, at different times for different people. The Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, only ended slavery in the Confederate states, thus could not be enforced, freeing no one and leaving close to a million people enslaved in the Border States. Yet, blacks, abolitionists, and politicians such as Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner cheered the document as “a promise of things to come.” It included a clause that opened the army to African-Americans, who could now fight for their own liberation, a cause championed by Frederick Douglass. The Union army had become an army of liberation, and eventually black soldiers accounted for ten percent of the Union army and navy. December 18, 1865, was the true Day of Jubilee, the day the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery forever. The text effectively explains the political issues from the Missouri Compromise of 1820 through the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, Lincoln’s evolution into “The Great Emancipator,” the role played by Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists, and key events of the war itself. Excellent use is made of primary sources: slave narratives, diaries, and autobiographies, newspapers, documents, and archival photographs. Sidebars, song lyrics, and the inclusion of many players—major and minor—add to the nicely designed volume. Unfortunately, occasional small errors and awkward writing mar an otherwise fine offering, as do the lack of a map and the inclusion of a bibliography with few resources for young readers. Still: an important work and an essential purchase. (introduction, time line, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-439-63513-4
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2003


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