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by Walter Dean Myers & illustrated by Jacob Lawrence

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-689-80126-2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Myers (Glorious Angels, 1995, etc.), inspired by a series of 1930s paintings by Lawrence, pens a straightforward narrative, subtitled "The Fight for Haiti's Freedom," about the freedom fighter Toussaint L'Ouverture. The story of the leader in the 1791 rebellion of black slaves against owners on the island that is now Haiti is well known. Through his victories, he abolished slavery on both the French and Spanish parts of the island by 1800. However, Napoleon sent many French troops, and L'Ouverture, duped by one of his generals, was captured and died in a French prison. The fight for freedom continued, however, and Haiti became independent in 1804. In an introduction, Lawrence recalls hearing street orators tell L'Ouverture's story in Harlem when he was growing up; he responded with 41 stark, stylized paintings in a somber, matte palette, all of which are reproduced here. Myers makes the story accessible, underplaying the text in light of the expressive paintings. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)