FROM Slave Ship
TO Freedom Road
Written by: Julius Lester
Paintings by: Rod Brown
Grade Level: 5th
(Children who are growing up in this century might not realize that people were unequal once before. It is imperative to teach students the history of slavery and how far those people have come!)
Before Reading: Have students write one paragraph and paint a picture to reflect that paragraph about what they think slavery is before anything is taught to them.
Summary: This story paints a clear picture of how life was during slavery. Stories are told from the beginning of slavery to the end of their journey towards freedom. This book helps students imagine the horrible experience slaves endured. Students also gain a sense of hope and joy as they finally reach freedom. By the end of this book, students of all races will better understand the history of slavery. The author of this book gives commentary throughout the reading to allow African-Americans to reflect on their own feelings about their background. This commentary also provides students of all races to actually think about the history of slavery rather then just learn the facts.
Follow-Up Activity: Now, have students write one-two paragraphs on what slavery actually was. They can also paint a picture just like the book. Have students compare and contrast within small groups and then eventually with the whole class.
Social Justice: This book clearly supports the history of racism and how diversity has differently impacted African-American people. Students learn the connection between the history of slavery and how equal African Americans are today (Black President).