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Hard Labor: The First African Americans, 1619 (Milestone Books) Paperback – January 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6--The authors begin with an overview of slavery, and the informative text dispels misconceptions about the arrival of Africans in the New World. The text explains that they came not only as slaves but also as indentured servants, that they owned land and servants, accompanied European explorers and conquistadors, and were instrumental in settling North America. Full-page, black-and-white illustrations support the narrative. The research is not supported by a bibliography or source notes, and the lack of a table of contents and index makes it difficult for students to find specific facts. Barring these shortcomings, this well-written offering will stimulate interest and spark discussions.--Tracy Bell, Durham Public Schools, NC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. The McKissacks take on a difficult and disturbing subject in this small history in the Milestone Books series, an account of the very first Africans who came to this country in the early seventeenth century: who they were, why they came, and what happened to them and their descendants. It is clear throughout how difficult it is to know what really happened ("probably" is a frequent qualifier in the text), but that's all part of the important story, "the facts blurred by centuries of neglect." What is known is that the first black citizens were not slaves, but indentured servants, like many whites. One fascinating chapter focuses on Anthony Johnson, who married a black woman and raised a free, successful family. But then racism became the law, and made only the blacks permanent slaves. The type is big and clear, with occasional black-and-white illustrations, but middle-graders will need adult help with the sweeping history, which includes an overview of slavery around the world. There's a useful list of "Virtual Visits" to four Web sites, including one on Anthony Johnson. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689861494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689861499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,660,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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I am a homeschooler who used this book as a supplement to the broader curriculum that we did on the age of exploration. There is one error in the text they insinuate that the first Africans in the British Colonies landed at Jamestown Settlement, VA. This is incorrect. They landed at Point Comfort in Hampton, VA. Otherwise this is an excellent resource. So much history that goes uncovered in most textbooks. You will not be disappointed.
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