Freedom in Congo Square

Freedom in Congo Square

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
A poetic tribute to a lesser-known part of African-American history describes how after working relentlessly for more than six days, slaves in nineteenth-century New Orleans were permitted to congregate in Congo Square.

& Taylor

Six days a week, slaves labor from sunup to sundown and beyond, but on Sunday afternoons, they gather with free blacks at Congo Square outside New Orleans, free from oppression. Includes foreword about Congo Square by Freddi Williams Evans, glossary, andhistorical notes.
A poetic tribute to a lesser-known event in African-American history describes how after working relentlessly for more than six days, slaves in 19th-century New Orleans were permitted to congregate in Congo Square to sing, dance and put aside their troubles for a few hours.

Simon and Schuster
Chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2016, this poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human's capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom's heart.

Mondays, there were hogs to slop,

mules to train, and logs to chop.

Slavery was no ways fair.

Six more days to Congo Square.

As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves' duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (, a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.


A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction

Starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Horn Book Magazine

Publisher: New York :, Little Bee Books,, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781499801033
Characteristics: 34 unnumbered pages : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
Additional Contributors: Christie, R. Gregory 1971-- Illustrator


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May 31, 2019

This is the first time I've introduced slavery and it's consequences to my daughter, who is almost 4. It's amazing, that with no historical background, no explanation besides reading the book and a word or two that she didn't understand, that she had the concept that slavery "is not right." She was sad, confused about why, and deliberate in her thoughts that slavery should not have happened. We didn't go any further than that, but this book, although heartbreaking, was an "easy" way to introduce slavery in a way that children can understand, and the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. We looked through them several times and found something new with each turn of the page. I highly recommend this for parents that are looking for a resource to start the conversation about slavery and the consequences that are still alive today.

Dec 18, 2017

This is a really gorgeous book, and the story is both heart-breaking and inspiring. Recommended reading for children and grown-ups!

Oct 04, 2017

This is a great Caldecott winner for personalizing slavery at a level children can understand.

Mar 16, 2017

The vivid colors used in the illustrations and the rhyming text bring the slaves' lives - and Congo Square - to life. A forward and author's note both add historical context to the book.

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Mar 16, 2017

stepha89 thinks this title is suitable for 5 years and over


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