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A day for rememberin' : the first Memorial Day

af Leah Henderson

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
755362,470 (4.33)Ingen
In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865, ten-year-old Eli and other newly freed slaves gather to honor the memory of fallen Union soldiers, an event considered to be one of the first celebrations of what is now called Memorial Day. Includes author's note.

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Acommunity of former slaves honors the fallen heroes who made them free.

It’s 1865, and White people are “mad ’cause we aren’t enslaved no more” (a fantastic burn!). Eli wants to follow his father to his work, but his parents are adamant that he take advantage of the education he is now entitled to and go to school. But finally, one day is so special that he gets to follow his father to work. The adult men are digging and building at the old Charleston racecourse, used as a prison for Union soldiers during the war, while Eli and the other children paint a picket fence. Finally, there’s a parade that culminates in sermons, songs, and laying flowers at the graves of Union soldiers buried at the former track, both Black and White. It’s Decoration Day, which will later become today’s Memorial Day. Cooper’s illustrations are soft and gentle, his muted color palette with many yellows, browns, and tans working well to convey the dusty workplace and the toil it takes to build a memorial site. His customary technique lends a gauzy haze to the proceedings. Henderson’s choice to show the development of this day of remembrance from the perspective of a child involved in the literal work required to build it gives the story weight and meaning. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 68% of actual size.)

A treasure. (author's note, timeline, notes) (Picture book. 6-10)

-Kirkus Review
  CDJLibrary | Jan 23, 2023 |
Includes “The Roots of Decoratiin Day”, Timeline, Notes, Bibliography.
  VillageProject | Nov 20, 2022 |
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  fernandie | Sep 15, 2022 |
Goodreads Review:
A moving tribute to the little-known history behind the first Memorial Day, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Floyd Cooper

Today is a special day. Eli knows it’s important if he’s allowed to miss one second of school, his “hard-earned right.”
Inspired by true events and told through the eyes of a young boy, this is the deeply moving story about what is regarded as the first Memorial Day on May 1, 1865. Eli dresses up in his best clothes, Mama gathers the mayflowers, Papa straightens his hat, and together they join the crowds filling the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, with bouquets, crosses, and wreaths. Abolitionists, missionaries, teachers, military officers, and a sea of faces Black, Brown, and White, they march as one and sing for all those who gave their lives fighting for freedom during the Civil War.
With poignant prose and celebratory, powerful illustrations, A Day for Rememberin’ shines light on the little-known history of this important holiday and reminds us never to forget the people who put their lives on the line for their country. The book is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper and includes archival photos in the back matter, as well as an author’s note, bibliography, timeline, and index.
  NativityPeaceLibrary | May 29, 2022 |
This book is set in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina, and tells the story of the first Memorial Day celebration. Ten-year-old Eli longs to go with his father to work, but his father insists Eli go to school, now that Blacks are allowed to be educated.

Before the war, the boy tells us, he was always scared that Mama or Papa would get sold away, never to come back home. Now, even though Papa looks more tired than ever, they don’t have that particular fear as a constant presence in their lives.

When Papa finally takes Eli to see what he has been working on, it turns out to be a memorial to Union soldiers who died in the notorious Confederate prison erected on Charleston’s Washington Race Course. The course was part of the grounds of Hampton Park, named for Confederate General Wade Hampton III who, at the time of the Civil War, owned one of the largest collections of slaves in the South. By the time the prison closed in 1865, 257 Union soldiers had died on the grounds from exposure, disease, and starvation, as the author apprises us in a note at the conclusion of the book. In April 1865 a group of Black volunteers offered to make a better resting place for these fallen soldiers who had helped secure their freedom. The dead had been dumped into a mass grave, but the volunteers dug them up and reburied them in individual plots.

They gave the makeshift cemetery an archway over the entrance gate that read “Martyrs of the Race Course.” On May 1, ten thousand people, both Black and white, gathered to pay respect. In the front were nearly three thousand Black children from newly formed freedmen’s schools. There were songs and speeches at this “First Decoration Day,” which later became known as Memorial Day.

The author also includes a timeline, a list of other cities claiming to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, footnotes and a selected bibliography.

Multiple award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper was the perfect choice for the artwork in this book. His oil erasure images and muted color palette on double-page spreads add softness, warmth, and texture. In addition, the expression on the faces of the people he paints convey more than the words of the text could do alone.

Evaluation: This book for readers aged 6 and up has an underlying and unstated message of grace and forgiveness, as well as determination and “the audacity of hope,” to paraphrase the first African American President some 140 years later. ( )
  nbmars | Nov 4, 2021 |
Viser 5 af 5
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In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865, ten-year-old Eli and other newly freed slaves gather to honor the memory of fallen Union soldiers, an event considered to be one of the first celebrations of what is now called Memorial Day. Includes author's note.

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