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The Riches of Oseola McCarty Hardcover – November 1, 1998
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-Oseola McCarty, an 87-year-old African-American laundress who left school in sixth grade, stunned the nation when she donated much of her life's savings (over $150,000) to the University of Southern Mississippi to endow scholarships. This inspiring account of her life unfolds in this clear, colorful narrative. Coleman details the backbreaking work that this woman and her female family members performed each day as they made their own lye soap, washed heavy loads by hand, and pressed them with a flat iron. Never marrying, living a frugal life, and always saving, McCarty wanted to use her money to help others get what she had missed-a good education. When her generosity became known, she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House. The author tells this story with great respect, incorporating information gathered from interviews with McCarty and people in Hattiesburg who know her. The black-and-white block prints enclosed by clothespin borders convey a feeling of strength and dignity. A worthy addition.
Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Coleman (To Be a Drum, p. 264, etc.) writes with feeling of an African-American woman whose work ethic proved inspiring. At the age of five Oseola (Ola) McCarty moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with her grandmother and aunt. Both the women worked hard every day, and Ola was taught to do all the things they did, from making soap, to washing the clothes by hand on a washboard, to heating the irons on the stove to press the stubborn wrinkles out of the damp garments and linens. For their backbreaking work, which started at seven in the morning and lasted until late at night, Ola and her grandmother were paid 50 cents a bundleas much as a customer could tie into a bedsheet. Still, Ola learned that it was important to save as much as she could every week in a bank account. A lifetime later, at 87, Ola had to quit working for health reasons, but wondered what to do with the considerable amount of money she had saved; she decided to give most of what she hadwell over $150,000to the University of Southern Mississippi for a scholarship fund, which was named for her. The action brought her fame and many awards, but Ola remained the frugal person she had always been. The story, illustrated with black-and-white woodcut-like prints, is full of wisdom and quiet courage; readers will be drawn to the simplicity of the habits that led to Ola's riches. A small, fine book. (Biography. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.