A Nineteenth-century American Girl

Bolden, Tonya

Book - 2005
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
A biography of a remarkable black girl growing up in the mid-1800's in Manhatten, N.Y.

Publisher: New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2005.
ISBN: 0810950456
Characteristics: 47 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,26 cm.


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May 17, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Consider the inherent difficulties in writing about a person's life from birth to young adulthood when you've hardly any factual evidence at your disposal and very little information to divulge simply because the time period was so long ago. Bolden made it even more difficult for herself when she decided to limit herself to looking only at Marticha's youth. Says Bolden, "Another decision my editor and I made at the outset was to limit the book's focus to Maritcha's youth, a period that the book's primary readership would identify with and find most interesting". To this end the author has done everything in her power to flesh out the story of a woman who's unpublished memoir Bolden stumbled over in the course of writing, "Tell All the Children Our Story". Given the scant materials at her disposal, Bolden has culled a one-of-a-kind tale out of the ashes of the past. Few authors can say so much.


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May 17, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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May 17, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Maritcha Remond Lyons was born a free black in 1848. Her home was lower Manhattan and her family and family friends were an amazing assortment of highly educated, noteworthy, and prominent free black families. Her mother and father ran a boardinghouse for black sailors that doubled as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Blacks were a particularly small portion of the New York City population at this moment in history but at least they were getting along until the Draft Riots hit. In 1863, as Maritcha turned fifteen, her family was forced to flee their home and leave New York altogether. From there on in the girl went on to make history. At the age of sixteen she spoke in front of the Rhode Island state legislature so that they would allow her to attend the school of her choice. When she grew up she became the assistant principal at Brooklyn's Public School No. 83 and wrote an unpublished memoir. The memoir, in turn, fell into the hands of author Tonya Bolden and the rest is "Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl".


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