William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad
Author & Illustrator: Don Tate
Publication Date: November 1, 2020 by Peachtree Publishing Company
Summary: You might be familiar with Harriet Tubman and other key leaders of the Underground Railroad, but do you know about the Father of the Underground Railroad?
William Still’s parents escaped slavery but had to leave two of their children behind, a tragedy that haunted the family. As a young man, William went to work for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, where he raised money, planned rescues, and helped freedom seekers who had traveled north. And then one day, a strangely familiar man came into William’s office, searching for information about his long-lost family. Could it be?
Motivated by his own family’s experience, William began collecting the stories of thousands of other freedom seekers. As a result, he was able to reunite other families and build a remarkable source of information, including encounters with Harriet Tubman, Henry Box Brown, and William and Ellen Craft.
Don Tate brings to life the incredible, stranger-than-fiction true story of William Still’s life and work as a record keeper of enslaved people who had fled to freedom. Tate’s powerful words and artwork are sure to inspire readers in this first-ever picture book biography of the Father of the Underground Railroad.
About the Author: DON TATE is the award-winning illustrator of numerous books for children, including Carter Reads the Newspaper, and is the author and illustrator of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton for which he won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. He is also the co-contributor to the Brown Bookshelf, a blog designed to raise awareness of African Americans writing for young readers. He lives in Austin, Texas. Visit his website at www.dontate.com.
Review: I think history education is one of the ways I was let down as a kid, so I adore when I learn about a piece of history or a historical figure that we should all know about but has been left out of “chosen” history.
William Still was a huge part of abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and the history of freed enslaved Americans. Based on Don Tate’s story, I learned that his transcription of the oral history of freedom seekers is how we know about many of the stories that are shared including Harriet Tubman’s and Henry Brown’s.
Don Tate’s book beautifully illustrates through his artwork and words the power of William Still and his impact on our history. We are lucky to have this book out in the world!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:
Peachtree Publishing has provided a downloadable poster which I love!
Read an excerpt of the book here: https://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/WilliamStillandHisFreedomStoriesExcerpt.pdf
Read This If You Love: History, specifically the Civil War, Emancipation, Underground Railroad; Don Tate’s books
**Thank you to Elyse at Peachtree for providing a copy for review!**