Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Traveling the Freedom Road

Traveling the Freedom Road

Traveling the Freedom Road

Traveling the Freedom Road tells the story of our country from the time of slavery, through the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and Reconstruction.

The Emancipation Proclamation was the executive order by Abraham Lincoln made on January 1, 1863 that freed the slaves in all states and territories.

Reconstruction is the time after the Civil War when the country had to rebuild and re-unite after fighting for so long between the North and the South.

Sometimes we can think too easily about history, like, once a slave escaped on the Underground Railroad and made it to the North, their worries were over. Not true. For a long time slave catchers could cross into the North and drag a person back into slavery. It’s easy to think also that after the Emancipation Proclamation slaves were all free and and their life was happy and easy, but that isn’t how it really worked. For one thing,  if a person became free, where would that person live? How would they eat? Do you think all people would be kind and helpful to them? Would there be some people who were angry that the slaves were free?

It’s a complicated story but very interesting. What did some freed slaves decide to do? Did they stay and work for their former owner for pay? Did the move North? Did they try to find family members who had been sold away from them? How did they find a place to live and a way to make a living? Did they go to school? Where? Author: Linda Osborne

Freed slaved coming to Indiana might have decided to live in Lyles Station or at the Huggart Settlement.

Lyles Station, near Princeton, Indiana
Brothers Joshua and Sanford Lyles, freed slaves from Tennessee, established Lyles Station in the 1850s. Joshua returned to Tennessee after the Civil War to recruit family and friends to join him in Indiana. He also donated sixty acres of his land to the Airline Railroad so there could be a railroad station in the town. The town eventually included, a post office, the railroad station, fifty-five homes, an elementary school, two churches, two general stores, and a lumber mill.

 

Huggart Settlement, near South Bend, Indiana
huggart-settlementThe Huggart Settlement was established by Samuel Huggart, a free black man from Ohio. Both white and black families settled here and participated in an integrated community life. They farmed, went to church & went to school together. The families were members of a Quaker congregation called the Olive Branch Church, which was opposed to slavery. The Huggart Settlement is an example of a community where people of different backgrounds and races found common ground at a time when segregation prevailed in many other places.

The settlement began to decline following the 1913 flood of the Patoka and Wabash rivers. While only a few houses remain in the community of Lyles Station, nearly half of the current residents are descendents of the original black settlers, making Lyles Station the last remaining black settlement in Indiana.

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Obama the Historic Journey

Obama the Historic Journey

Obama the Historic Journey

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.

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Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Bake You a Pie: a Story about Edna Lewis

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Bake You a Pie: a Story about Edna Lewis

Bring Me Some Apples

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.

  • Look Inside Bring Me Some Apples
  • Listen to NPR Audio: Memories of Southern Chef Edna Lewis
  • Watch the Documentary Fried Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie
If you like learning about Edna Lewis try some of these books:
Heritage Cookbook Addy's Cookbook George Crum and the Saratoga Chips Kwanzaa Karamu
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Indiana’s 28th Regiment & Tuskegee Airmen

Indiana’s 28th Regiment & Tuskegee Airmen
28th-colored-troops-photo
Photo courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.
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.

  • Tuskegee Airmen Official Website
  • Tuskegee Airmen at Huntington, Indiana Airport Part 2
  • Tuskegee Airmen at Huntington, Indiana Airport Part 3
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January’s Sparrow

January’s Sparrow

January's Sparrow

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.

rankin-house1Alexander 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.

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