Maritcha A Nineteenth-Century American Girl
  • Imprint: Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2005
  • Price: $19.95
  • Trim Size: 10 x 10
  • ISBN: 978-0-8109-5045-0
  • EAN: 9780810950450
  • Page Count: 48
  • Illustrations: full color
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Additional formats:

Discover the remarkable story of a free Black girl born during the days of slavery in this Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning picture book

“To do the best for myself with the view of making the best of myself,” wrote Maritcha Rémond Lyons (1848—1929) about her childhood.

Based on an unpublished memoir written by Lyons, who was born and raised in New York City, this poignant story tells what it was like to be a Black child born free during the days of slavery. Everyday experiences are interspersed with notable moments, such as a visit to the first world’s fair held in the United States. Also included are the Draft Riots of 1863, during which Maritcha and her siblings fled to Brooklyn while her parents stayed behind to protect their Manhattan home. The book concludes with her fight to attend a whites-only high school in Providence, Rhode Island, and her victory of being the first Black graduate.

The evocative text, photographs, and archival material make this book an invaluable cultural and historical resource. Maritcha brings to life the story of a very ordinary—yet remarkable—girl of nineteenth-century America.

About the author

Tonya Bolden has written a number of books for children, teens, and adults. She lives in New York City.