Reviewed by Allyson Criner Brown
Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence gives young readers a slavery-to-freedom narrative that is clever, honest, and age appropriate. Gretchen Woelfle’s recounting of Elizabeth Freeman’s true story of resistance and liberation is smartly written and beautifully illustrated. Readers are introduced to Mumbet, a Black woman enslaved in Massachusetts at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Mumbet, knowing that the promise of freedom and equality should belong to her as well, successfully brings a lawsuit against her owners to be free and chooses the name Elizabeth Freeman. Kids will root for this intelligent, brave heroine who confronted the terrible nature of slavery in the United States and set the precedent for Blacks to be free in Massachusetts. Read more.
Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle
Illustrator: Alix Delinois
Published by Carolrhoda Books on February 1st 2014
Genres: African American, Democracy and Citizenship, Slavery, U.S. History
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's synopsis: "All men are born free and equal." Everybody knows about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. But the founders weren't the only ones who believed that everyone had a right to freedom. Mumbet, a Massachusetts slave, believed it too. She longed to be free, but how? Would anyone help her in her fight for freedom? Could she win against her owner, the richest man in town?
Mumbet was determined to try.
Mumbet's Declaration of Independence tells her story for the first time in a picture book biography, and her brave actions set a milestone on the road toward ending slavery in the United States.