Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Climbing Lincoln's Steps: The African American Journey

Climbing Lincoln's Steps: The African American Journey

Suzanne Slade
Illustrator:  Colin Bootman 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Albert Whitman, 2010   ISBN: 978-0807512043

In 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. His hope was that his actions would free the thousands of African American slaves who lived in the United States. The document did indeed free the slaves, but their troubles were far from over.

Many of the struggles experienced by African Americans were witnessed by the Lincoln Memorial. In the shadow of Lincoln’s statue, Marian Anderson sang in 1939. The opera singer was not allowed to perform in a concert hall in Washington D.C. because of her race, so First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that Marian Anderson should sing from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 1963, people of all colors and ages came to Washington D.C. to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial he stood, telling people all over the world about a dream that he has, a hope that lies in his heart that one day all people will truly be equal.

Then in 2009, the Lincoln Memorial witnessed something many people thought would never happen. An African American man became the president of the United States and he came to pay his respects at the memorial.

This beautifully written book shows how people from all walks of life “took a step” to make America a more just country, a country where everyone has the same freedoms and rights. In addition to telling us about Abraham Lincoln, Marian Anderson, Martin Luther King Jr, and Barak Obama, the author tells us (at the back of the book) about other people who brought about change “One small step at a time.”