Sunday, January 22, 2006

Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl

Bolden, Tonya. 2005. MARITCHA: A NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN GIRL. New York: Abrams. ISBN 0810950456 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]

The life of Maritcha Remond Lyons is outlined using photographs from the family as well as from the time period. Maritcha was a young African American girl growing up in New York City in the 1850s living with her parents, brother, and sister in a boarding house they operated for sailors who came through town. She went to church, spent time with her family, and learned some of her family’s history. She had to miss school for quite a while during an illness, but with the help of a family friend and private tutoring, Maritcha was soon able to return. She also assisted her parents who were involved in the Underground Railroad. In July 1863, Maritcha’s life changed. The Lyons’s family home became victims of the New York City Draft Riots. The family was forced to flee to friends in Massachusetts until the home could be repaired. In late fall, they were able to return long enough for Maritcha to finish school, and then they moved again to Providence, Rhode Island. Upon trying to enroll in the local high school, Maritcha found out the school did not admit blacks. Maritcha and her family would not accept this. They fought the decision and won. Maritcha never forgot what it took to allow the school to accept her; thus she was never overly friendly towards anyone. In the end, she would be the first black person to graduate from Providence High. This proves that one can achieve anything if she refuses to give up.

Readers can compare their lives to Maritcha’s and see that though the time period and events are different, children today are not that different from Maritcha.

Book about Civil Rights and African Americans
Mcwhorter, Diane. A DREAM OF FREEDOM: THE CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT FROM 1954-1968. ISBN 0439576784
Book about Racism and Fighting

By Paige A. Poe

No comments: