Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Book Summary: 

Nelson tells the stories of Africans in America, and African Americans. He portrays both the dark aspects of this history as well as aspects that give hope. Above all, these are stories of courage.

Year: 
2012
Author: 
Kadir Nelson
Illustrator: 
Kadir Nelson
Publisher: 
Balzer + Bray
Guiding Question: 

Have you and your family, friends or community ever banded together when you wanted to change something? Look up labor unions and discuss whether or not you think labor unions are a good idea. (You can relate labor unions to page 56 in this book.) 

This book has so many examples of injustice that occurred over the life of the U.S. as well as heroes- the slave trade and lives of slaves,  (15-37), lack of and differentiated education (24, 43, 48, 85), the Civil War (26-37), life during Reconstruction (39-45), Jim Crow (45, 53,56, 85) life on the frontier (46-51), the Great Migration (53-), the black women’s vote (69), W.W. II (70-77), Martin Luther King, Jr. (80-99), Little Rock Nine (86), Rosa Parks and boycotting, (89), and the Freedom Riders (91).

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty The end flap of the book states, “The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define this country.”

Empathy- This book explains many of the struggles of African Americans from the injustice of slavery, their hopes of winning freedom as soldiers in the Revolutionary War and Civil Wars, their trials after the Civil War, and their desire to live the American dream before and after the World Wars. Which time period do you think was the most difficult? Why?

Advocacy- Chapter 7 describes the migration of many Black people to northern cities. There they had to deal with the fights between labor unions and management. Labor unions are designed to be advocates for workers. How should the unions have been able to help the black workers?

Action- The workers pictured on pages on pages 58-59 are striking. How do strikes work? Are there unfair practices that you would consider striking over?