Slavery and the African American Story

Listening Library. (Race to the Truth). Sept. 2023. 547p. $18. ISBN 9780593747667.
Gr 5-7–The second in the “Race to the Truth” series centers slavery as “our shared history,” a necessary reminder that “all Americans continue to benefit from slavery whether we want to believe it or not.” Jones nimbly channels scholar/activist Dockery’s conversational text, augmenting the history missing from textbooks and classrooms. Highlights include “sixteenth-century black conquistadors,” the “Door of No Return,” using Christianity to validate slavery. Uncommon facts are many, from the etymological origin of “slave” from Slav (when Arabs enslaved Bosnians before Africa became a trafficking source), to second U.S. President John Adams as the only Founding Father who opposed slavery, to Adams’s son, sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams, who represented the 53 (surviving) African men of the Amistad in court. Most sobering are the unacknowledged, ongoing, slavery-originated profits, from our cotton/textiles to banking/insurance, and even the loftiest Harvard educations.
VERDICT Dockery and Jones are a powerfully illuminating pair.

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