Crossing Bok Chitto

Book Summary: 

There is a river called Bok Chitto which runs through Mississippi creating a boundary. One side of the river holds the Choctaw people and the other side of the river is a plantation that holds the owners of that plantation and their slaves. If the slaves are able to cross this river then they are free and there is nothing that the owners of the slaves can do, they would be free. A little girl named Martha Tom is told to find blackberries for a wedding that her mother is to cook for. She finds herself on the opposite side of the river than what she is supposed to be on. She sees a group of black people coming together chanting “we are bound for the Promised Land”. While on this side of the river she meets a little boy named Little Mo. Little Mo is told by his father to get Martha Tom back to her side of the river. After this first encounter the little girl and boy become friends for years to come. One day Little Mo’s family gets told that his mother was being sold. Little Mo comes up with the plan of getting across the river without anyone seeing them. They get across and the Choctaw people take them into safety. Little Mo and his family a finally safe and free.

Tim Tingle
Jeanne Rorex Bridges
Cinco Punto's Press
Guiding Question: 

In this story we witness two different families and their different experiences on either side of the Bok Chitto. There are many events that happen all over the world and some of the time we don’t know what is going on in the world even if those events are happening close to us. As a whole, how can we all come together and be educated about what is going on around us?

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

Honesty:  In most countries slavery is illegal, but slavery still exists. Why do you think some countries still allow slavery? What human rights are not being followed?

Empathy: You find out that your friend’s mother is being taken away from their family and there is possibly something you can do to help. How would you have reacted if you were the little girl? Would you have helped or would you have felt that it’s not your responsibility to intervene in something this serious?

Advocacy:  Go to this website and take the survey on modern slavery. How much did you know? Did you learn something new? How much of the information did you not know? Did anything surprise you?

Action: The Choctaw people in the book did what they could and took in Little Mo and his family so that they could be free. On the same website used above you could take action and take part in the anti-slavery campaign.                                    


Reviewed by Tyler Overy, Ohio Northern University teacher candidate