Our latest row (and the first in our two-book study of slavery this fall) was Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky. Amazon's synopsis of it reads, "No one owns the sun, because the sun is too large and too great for one person to own. No one owns the stars because they are too far away for anyone to own. No one owns the wind, because it is a wanderer that visits everyone and every place. These are simple truths that Big Jim shares with his son. However, Big Jim's son's life is turned upside down when he learns that one of earth's most beautiful things can be owned." That "thing" is man. This was a sad story, because the subject itself is sad and tragic. This was Maggie's first real exposure to the concept of slavery, other than the story of the Israelites in Egypt, and I think it hit home for her because it happened right here, in her country, in a time frame that she can conceptualize. She was very emotional during this study. (This week, we will start our next row in our lesson on slavery, Follow the Drinking Gourd.)
After the story, we read more about slavery with this book, If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma. It is very thorough and a was a great addition!
We also looked at different illustrations depicting slavery in A History of Us: The New Nation: 1789-1850 (Book 4).
One of the hardest stories we have ever read (although it is a wonderful book) was January's Sparrow by Patricia Polacco. I LOVE her books! You have to add this to your row!
After our reading, we colored our story disk for this book and placed it on the Southern states on our US map.
Then, we headed to our local museum for a look at their slavery artifacts. Here is Maggie under a cotton bale in front of the Heritage Theatre, where we watched a few minutes of the slavery portion of their ongoing film about the history of our area.
This is their replica slave cabin that Maggie is standing in front of.
This artifact is an auction house window grate from an auction house that was once in our city. The plaque said that "the slaves for sale were imprisoned at night in a high brick-walled compound. Their only view of the outside world was through small openings barred with iron grates like the one displayed here, from the original wall."
This piece of paper was a slave bill of sale. This bill, written in 1861, was for a forty-eight-year-old woman named Ruby, for the price of three hundred fifty dollars.
The piece of paper below was a freedom paper, written in 1829, for a woman named Rachel Gould. Although it claimed her now free, her rights were, in fact, still very limited.
Often, when slaves would escape their owners, ads would be taken out in newspapers to offer a reward for their apprehension.
There was another exhibit at the museum that allowed me to expand our study to segregation. We went down to that gallery to see the photographs of Gordon Parks. Most of these photographs were taken in Mobile.
(Below, are a few of his shots.) It was a real shock to Maggie that this was how life was in the South not all that long ago.
Once home, we made the biscuits recipe for this book out of The Five in a Row Cookbook (page 18).
We called them "Big Jim's Biscuits."
They looked beautiful!
And they were super tasty!
We visited a local farm that was growing cotton and talked about how this would have been picked by slaves who were not paid all those years ago, maybe even in this very spot.
Once home, we used watercolor to try to simulate the sun painting we saw throughout the pages of the book.
Here is Maggie's!
The last thing we did for this book was to talk about nutrition. (There was a section of the book where Big Jim's lunch was described and the FIAR manual challenged us to determine whether or not he was given a balanced meal. Often, slaves were not.) To learn more, we read Usborne's Why Do People Eat? by Kate Needham ...
... and Usborne's What Happens to Your Food? flap book by Alastair Smith.
Overall, another good row. This week, we can't wait to dive into Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter. Check back for that post soon!