Sunday, April 26, 2015

Maritcha A Nineteenth-Century American Girl by Tonya Bolden

Maritcha is a young black girl growing up in New York in the mid-1800's.  She's a free black but she still sees segregation.  This story was created from her own writings and family photos.

Abrams Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I really like how Ms. Bolden put this story together.  She not only records the events of the time and how they influenced Maritchas' life, she includes photos of her family, the town, the buildings, and more.  The area where she grew up has turned into Manhattan.  New York itself is truly a mixing bowl of cultures and people.  Free Negros were not an unusual thing there.

Her family ran a boarding house for sailors.  I was surprised to find that the black men became sailors for their livelihood.  I don't have much knowledge about this time period or New York history but somehow I had visions of black sailors that were more like slaves.  I was wrong.

I liked the fact that her family helped the Underground Railroad get slaves to Canada, where they could be free.  I was sorry to see how the tumult of the era burnt their home and they had to find temporary housing in another area.  They were determined, though.  They returned.

Maritcha had a burning desire for learning.  She had to appeal her case to get into high school.  She spent her whole life being strong and willing to work hard to get what she wanted.  You still have to do that if you want to achieve your goals in life.  If Maritcha could do it, you can too.  Just read about her trials and keep pushing on.

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