Wilma Rudolph had polio when she was six years old. Polio is a virus that can cause paralysis. Now we have a vaccine for polio but that wasn’t invented yet when Wilma was little. The polio did not paralyze Wilma, but it did leave one leg crooked and Wilma had to wear a brace to help her walk.
When Wilma was nine she took the brace off and when she was eleven she started to play sports in school. Eventually, Wilma won gold medals at the Olympics as a runner. For the next two weeks you can watch the stories of Olympic athletes at the 2010 Vancourver Winter Olympic games. Lots of them will have inspirational stories too. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to compete at the Olympic Level.
Take a look at this great video of Wilma talking about her own life and her experiences at the Olympics.
Have you ever heard of Indiana’s own Olympian Oscar Robertson? In 1955 Oscar when to Crispus Attucks High School. Oscar’s team won the Indiana State Championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Robertson led Crispus Attucks to another championship in 1956. Oscar was so good he played in College and went on to win a gold medal with the US Basketball team at the 1960 Olympic Games.
If you want to read a biography of President Obama, this is the one. It tells his story from the time he was born up to inauguration day. The book includes comments from people close to him like his mother, his grandmother and his sister as well as people he has worked with or inspired.
The book includes questions he has been asked by the American people, by other politicians and by kids.
Question from a first grader: “Shouldn’t you be vice president first?”
You can even find out little things, like the fact that he is left handed and likes chili and basketball. As a student basketball player he earned the nickname “Barry O’Bomber” because of his jump shot. Barry was his nickname back then – see all of the interesting things you can find out?!
Every page has several vibrant photos. I enjoyed reading this as the story of a person’s life. I also liked that the author included a lot of information about the election and what the issues were that were debated during the election. This book is the story of a life…but also gives a look at the process of getting elected.
Edna Lewis cooks simple and she cooks Southern. Edna grew up in Virginia and this book tells the story of how she ended up a chef in New York City. When she was a little girl her family ate what they could grow and they ate what was ripe when it was ripe or they canned it to save for later. The dishes served at her restaurant depended on the season because Edna only used fresh ingredients in her recipes. If it wasn’t just picked, she didn’t use it.
An interesting look at a person who followed her passion into a career and life she enjoyed.
Indiana’s first black troops in the Civil War were enlisted in November 1863. More than eight hundred black men joined the Twenty-eighth Regiment. The regiment trained at Camp Fremont near Fountain Square in Indianapolis. The regiment is best known for its role in the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, where on July 30, 1864, it participated in the Battle of the Crater. In this battle, Union troops dug a tunnel under the Confederate fort at Petersburg, carried eight thousand pounds of explosives into the tunnel, and blew up the fort. When the war was over the soldiers returned to Indianapolis on January 6, 1866. The regiment lost 212 men in battle or as a result of disease.
Tuskegee Airmen were African-American pilots who flew in World War II. Before the Tuskegee Airmen, no African-American pilots had every been in the U.S. armed forces. They were the first and became highly regarded airmen. They are best known for escorting bombers. In this video you can watch some Hoosier airmen talk about their experiences during the war.
Eight-year-old Sadie is a slave on the plantation of Master Francis Giltner. When Master Giltner whips January, a young man dear to Sadie and her family for trying to run away, Sadie wishes she would have tried to stop him. Just the other day January had handed her a little bird, a sparrow, carved from wood. He’d handed it to her and said, “It’s fixin’ to fly And so is I.” Maybe Sadie should have told her mom and dad what January was planning to do.
That same night Sadie is shaken awake. Her dad says, “We is gonna cross water tonight!” Her mom says “They was comin’ to fetch the boys in the mornin’. We heard it ourselves. They was gonna be auctioned off.” To keep their family together, Sadie’s mom and dad have made the decision to make a run for it, even though they have seen what their punishment will be if they get caught. This night begins their harrowing journey to Indiana and then on to Michigan and finally to Canada on the Underground Railroad. Pursued by slave catchers and dogs the family relies on the help of others to survive. And even when they finally get to a free state, slave catchers still chase them, hoping to drag them back to the planation. Author: Patricia Polacco
This video is a dramatization of people escaping with the help of Abolitionists. It really shows you the emotional toll fleeing took on people and the importance of having help along the way. Fugitive slaves running through Indiana may have passed through the homes of Alexander Rankin in Fort Wayne or Levi Coffin in Fountain City.
Alexander Rankin was a well-known abolitonist. Rankin came to Fort Wayne in 1838 to become a minister. He built a house at 818 Lafayette Street in Fort Wayne and lived there for two years. The Rankin house is the only surviving structure in Fort Wayne that is known to be connected to the Abolition movement or the Underground Railroad.