Black Children's Books & Authors

"Black children need to see their lives reflected in the books they read. If they don't, they won't feel welcome in the world of literature. The lives of African-Americans are rich and diverse, and the books our children read should reflect that."- Valerie Wilson Wesley

At Her Majesty’s Request: An African Princess in Victorian England

Walter Dean Meyers

In 1849, a young African girl came within moments of being sacrificed in the bloody Dahomian ritual called the “watering of the graves.” But Commander Frederick E. Forbes, the young British captain of the HMS Bonetta, intervened, provoking Dahomian King Gezo to offer the girl as a gift to Queen Victoria instead. Forbes named the girl Sarah Forbes Bonetta and took her back to England, where she became Queen Victoria’s protege. Walter Dean Myers discovered the kernel of Sarah’s story in a bundle of original letters he purchased from a London book dealer. From these letters, along with excerpts from Queen Victoria’s diary, newspapers, and Forbes’s published account of the Dahomans, Myers pieced together Sarah’s life. In his unembellished narrative we learn about Sarah’s capture by the slave-trading Dahomans; her rescue by Forbes; her life in England under the Forbes’ care; her regular visits to the Queen; her stay at a missionary school in Sierra Leone and abrupt return to England; her marriage and early death. Yet, as horrific and miraculous as the events of Sarah’s life are, Myers can only pose questions about who Sarah really was (“What were her dreams for her own future…? What images came to her as she rode in the pony cart with the royal children? How often did she think of Dahomey? Of King Gezo?”). Sarah’s chatty, unprovocative letters, which hint at the upperclass Englishwoman she became, reveal nothing about her African heritage or about the traumatized girl she must have been (Myers could not even discover her African name). Ironically, this seeming weakness proves the ultimate testimony to Sarah’s life-the very absence of her voice bears undeniable witness to her story.

(Source: barnesandnoble.com)

— 6 months ago with 397 notes
#women in black history  #sarah forbes bonetta  #queen victoria  #slavery  #dahomey 
  1. hello-sweetie88 reblogged this from ndelphinus
  2. ndelphinus reblogged this from wholesomeobsessive
  3. annoyinger reblogged this from fuckyeahilikechicks
  4. sassyunicorns-unite reblogged this from fuckyeahilikechicks
  5. peguei-teu-brilho reblogged this from fuckyeahilikechicks
  6. fuckyeahilikechicks reblogged this from liebegottentruths
  7. liebegottentruths reblogged this from wholesomeobsessive
  8. wholesomeobsessive reblogged this from womanistgrrrlcollective
  9. sophdreamer reblogged this from blackchildrensbooksandauthors
  10. lunarvulva reblogged this from poppascrew
  11. maxinea-k reblogged this from weareallafricans
  12. eidetic-life reblogged this from blackchildrensbooksandauthors
  13. lifecrackedlikeice reblogged this from cadetcallous
  14. naturalhairiam reblogged this from weareallafricans
  15. cadetcallous reblogged this from saturnineaqua
  16. morphississ reblogged this from womanistgrrrlcollective
  17. imamusicjunkie reblogged this from lookatthewords
  18. yestweetybird reblogged this from lookatthewords
  19. thenextsilkspectre reblogged this from crimedramaromanceperfection
  20. crimedramaromanceperfection reblogged this from alienschoolgirl