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Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend

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Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend
A Civil Rights Story

authors: Bettye Stroud; Calvin Alexander Ramsey
illustrator: John Holyfield

When Alex spies a mule chomping on greens in a nearby garden, he can’t help but ask about it. “Ol’ Belle?” says Miz Pettway. “She can have all the collards she wants. She’s earned it.” And so begins the tale of an ordinary mule in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, that played a singular part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When African-Americans in a poor community — inspired by a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — defied local authorities who were trying to stop them from registering to vote, many got around a long, imposed detour on mule-drawn wagons. As Alex looks into the eyes of gentle Belle, he begins to understand a significant time in history in a very personal way.

“This small snapshot of the protest movement pays homage to both the determination of ordinary folk and the power of Dr. King’s words. . . . An intergenerational story filled with heart and soul.” — Kirkus Reviews
suggested retail price (U.S./CAN):
$8.99 / $0.00
153622104X /  9781536221046
on sale date:
Picture Books / EBook
age range:
5 yrs - 8 yrs
# of pages/size:
32 / N/A
grade range:
Kindergarten - Grade 3
African American & Black; Historical; Social Themes;
author’s comments:
Calvin Alexander Ramsey is a playwright, photographer, and painter. He adapted one of his plays for print as Ruth and the Green Book, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Calvin Alexander Ramsey lives in Atlanta.

Bettye Stroud is the author of several books for children, including The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom, illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett. Bettye Stroud lives in Georgia.
illustrator’s comments:
John Holyfield has illustrated several books for children, including The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner. John Holyfield lives in Virginia.
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