Freedom in Congo Square
Written By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrations By: R. Gregory Christie
Forward By: Freddi Williams Evans
Published: Little Bee Books – New York, NY, January 5th, 2016
Awards: Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustrator – 2017, Caldecott Honor – 2017, Charlotte Zolotow Award – 2017, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of – 2016, A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction
Themes: The theme of this text focuses on the aspect of slavery and the oppression that many enslaved African Americans experienced. However, the themes of hope and joy are seen in creative and mindful ways.
Summary: In New Orleans, Louisiana slavery is legal and the way of life for many African American individuals. Each day they are required to complete physically daunting tasks. However, their hopes and dreams are present as they count down the days until they are able to go to Congo Square. Congo Square is a place of joyous music, dance, laughter, and the only amount of freedom that is allowed for these enslaved and overworked people.
Response: What factual information did you learn? Did anything surprise you? How do you know if this information is accurate? (information books, biography, some historical fiction).
Through my entire educational career – learning an immense about the position of slavery in our American history and the role of African Americans in our past, I never knew about Congo Square. With this text accompanied by the forward written by Freddi Williams Evans, one is able to learn about the often not known Congo Square. Then as the text follows, with the beautiful illustrations, the reader is able to enjoy the whimsical, joyous environment that Congo Square offers to those that live lives as possessions. The aspect of Congo Square completely surprised me when learning of its mere existent, and with further research Congo Square was more than just a place to go to – it was a place of tradition, culture, and above all happiness.