Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Strange Fruit, Volume 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History (Bk. 1 of Strange Fruit)

Image from RRHS Catalog

Gill presents several brief stories about Black Americans that are not typically included among the cannon of black history. Perilous and strange escapes from bondage, pioneers in various fields, and horrific yet forgotten episodes are all presented succinctly with a simple graphic charm. I'd recommend this book as a way to broaden the narrow view presented in many discussions of black history. There's little interaction with the historic grandees; W.E.B. DuBois makes a cameo, as does Teddy Roosevelt. The rest of the cast of characters will likely be new to you. Some escaped slavery and lived to tell a remarkable tale; others overcame social obstacles to achieve greatness. Gill relays these tales with humor and grace, often winking at folktale embellishments which place some stories closer to Washington's cherry tree than START II in terms of historical veracity. The art is simply done with occasional artistic flourishes and plenty of detail and easter eggs for the observant reader. You would like this book if you like… March, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, or the Crogan Adventures.

~ RET3, Guest Reviewer