Shackles from the Deep is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Cottman who delivers a tale that is “part mystery, part history, part self-discovery” (Booklist starred review) in this unique and mostly unknown true story of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that was wrecked off the coast of Florida at the turn of the 18th century.
Award-winning author Ann Bausum chronicles the story of what has been called the final march of the civil rights era in The March Against Fear, The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power. This story powerfully parallels the modern fight for social justice and is hailed by Kirkus in a starred review as “an exceptionally well-written and -researched chronicle of a crucial civil rights turning point.”
In his book, Cottman retraces the Henrietta Marie’s route around the world: from England to West Africa, from the Henrietta Marie’s departing port in Senegal to the American, sharing his emotional journey of walking the steps of his ancestors and reliving the traumatic, treacherous and heartbreaking ordeal of these enslaved men, women – and children – who died on its final journey. Jamaican plantation where the slaves it carried were sent to work. Cottman draws from his own experience as a diver and an African-American.
“Cottman weaves his personal story of discovery with history of the slave trade, helping readers understand why a sunken slave ship from the 1700s still matters,” reviewed Kirkus. “His emotional attachment to the artifacts, including child-sized shackles, deepens the storytelling in this highly readable narrative.”
Color photographs, a timeline, map, and further reading resources make this an enlightening historical study, while raising timely social questions. Cottman previously told the ship’s story for adults in The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, and now makes this significant aspect of history accessible to young readers, who are the ones assigned the task of ensuring our future does not repeat the terrible mistakes of our past.
Cottman is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a national multimedia project, “Voyage to Discovery,” an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography.
In Ann Bausum’s book, she recounts the often-overlooked 300-mile walk from Memphis to Jackson that became a key moment in civil rights history. On June 5, 1966, James Meredith set out to confront racial fears and to peacefully protest for voter registration for African Americans, but was shot in an assassination attempt the very next day. His cause was taken up by two leaders of the era, Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael – swelling one man’s walk into a historic march of more than 15,000 people, resulting in 4,000 black voter registrations in Mississippi.
The different approaches of King and Carmichael caused tension that ultimately drove a wedge between their organizations and fueled the Black Power movement, which was derided by the media and resented by many others at the time – a haunting echo of contemporary tension with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Bausum dissects these internal divisions with great sensitivity, lauding Martin Luther King Jr.’s peacemaking powers while illuminating the conditions that provoked others to more confrontational protest,” reported Publishers Weekly in a starred review. “Abundant details disclose the extent of segregation and racism, the pivotal role of law enforcement authorities, and how fraught protecting the marchers could be: state troopers used tear gas and physical assault to “suppress an act of racial defiance” when marchers tried to pitch their tents on public land.”
Bausum met Meredith in the course of her research and his first-hand account, combined with historical photographs and quotes from key figures on both sides, brings to life a significant moment in history that will resonate with modern readers as the fight for equal rights continues today.
Bausum writes about U.S. history for young people, and she has published eight titles with National Geographic Children’s Books including, most recently, Marching to the Mountaintop (2012) and Unraveling Freedom (2010). Ann’s books consistently earn prominent national recognition. Denied, Detained, Deported (2009) was named the 2010 Carter G. Woodson Book Award winner at the secondary school level from the National Council for the Social Studies. Muckrakers (2007) earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Freedom Riders (2006) gained Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association and With Courage and Cloth (2004) received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award as the year’s best book on social justice issues for older readers. In addition, Ann has written about the nation’s chief executives and their spouses—Our Country’s Presidents (2013, 4th edition) and Our Country’s First Ladies (2007)—as well as the intrepid explorer Roy Chapman Andrews (Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs, 2000).