Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend

By Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Bettye Stroud
Illustrated by John Holyfield

A true story inspires the moving tale of a mule that played a key role in the civil rights movement-- and a young boy who sees history anew.

Sitting on a bench waiting for his mother, Alex spies a mule chomping on greens in someone’s garden, and he can’t help but ask about it.""Ol Belle?” says Miz Pettway next to him. “She can have all the collards she wants. She’s earned it.” And so begins the tale of a simple mule in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who played a singular part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When African-Americans in a poor community-- inspired by a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-- defied local authorities who were trying to stop them from registering to vote, many got around a long detour on mule-drawn wagons. Later, after Dr. King’s assassination, two mules from Gee’s Bend pulled the farm wagon bearing his casket through the streets of Atlanta. As Alex looks into the eyes of gentle Belle, he begins to understand a powerful time in history in a very personal way.

  • Based on real events in Gee's Bend, Alabama, in the 1960's, when Dr. Martin Luther King visited; the local women began making their famous quilts, and two mules were selected to pull Dr. King's casket in his fineral procession in Atlanta.
  • The fictionalized account of the mule Belle feaures a modern day young boy, a brilliant device that will help today's young readers connect with a story that took place over forty years ago.
  • Prominent and well-respected African-American creators

About the author

Calvin Alexander Ramsey is a playwright, photographer, and painter. He adapted one of his plays for print as Ruth and the Green Book, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Calvin Alexander Ramsey lives in Atlanta. Bettye Stroud is the author of several books for children, including The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom, illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett. Bettye Stroud lives in Georgia.

About the illustrator

John Holyfield has illustrated several books for children, including The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner. John Holyfield lives in Virginia.

ISBN: 9780763640583
Imprint: Candlewick
Distributor: Walker Australia-HEDS
Binding: Hardback
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Dimensions: 249 x 259mm, 32pp
Stock Status: Confirmed
Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99
Stock Level: Out Of Stock

Last updated on 11/11/18 at 21:45:36
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