Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History

Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History
Age Range
6+
Release Date
September 28, 2021
ISBN
978-1419748752
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A proud, empowering introduction to African American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestors

Your story begins in Africa. Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you.

Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors’ freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered—and how their stories should be taught.

Editor review

1 review
Black Centered US History
Overall rating
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
This brightly colored, impressionistic book reframes an overview of Black history for young readers, offering a more positive look at what people of African descent were able to accomplish despite centuries of mistreatment. Addressing "you", the book talks a bit about the fact that there were different, vibrant communities in Africa that had their own cultures and talents, but that in 1619, ships from Europe arrived and started to enslave the indiginous peoples. There are brief descriptions of the brutalities of slavery, including families being separated, but also talks about more positive aspects of the peoples' resilience as it was manifested in languages, music, food, and love. Famous Black Americans who were working towards freedom, including Henry "Box" Brown and William and Ellen Craft, are mentioned briefly. Some Black inventors are showcased, as are prominent post Civil War inventors, scientists, and business people. Positive concepts like "Brilliance", "Dignity", and "Strength" are illustrated with labeled pictures of historical figures such as Maya Angelou, Shirley Chisholm, and James Baldwin. At the end, the reader is told "You are meant to do great things."
Good Points
The artwork, which was created with mixed media and has a lot of interesting texture in the paintings' brush work, has a fantastic feeling of movement. The colors are dark during scenes on slave ships and when people are escaping across the South, but in general have a lot of hopeful, bright oranges and yellows. Page decorations of greenery and flowers appear without, and tie together the pages in an interesting way, with an emphasis on growth.

I loved the cross section of Black Americans who accomplished a variety of things, and there were a few names that I hadn't heard, so this will definitely lead me to more research! There is an author's note about her reasons to write the book, and I liked the description by the Booktuber Bookish Realm of a "love letter" to Black children.

This is a great read aloud to children who are weary of older titles that spend too much time on the challenges and problems faced by the Black community. Along with Barnes' Crown and Wright's Seeing Into Tomorrow, this is a way to showcase Black joy. It does not deny bad things happening but offers a more positive view of the way that Black people fought through adversity. Readers might be encouraged to start a deeper dive into historical research based on the people and events mentioned in this uplifting text.

I would have appreciated some source notes, and more historical information, but that wasn't really the purpose of this book.
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