An Appreciation of Dorothy Sterling

Yesterday, our friend Ira (I guess you're officially a contributor now) sent a link to a Los Angeles Times article on the passing of author Dorothy Sterling at the age of 95; he thought her story would be worth noting on

At first unfamiliar with the name, I learned that she'd written a book that had made a big impact on me as a child, "Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman" (published in 1954 and still in print). Dorothy opened my eyes to the story of this amazing woman, born into slavery, who escaped, then selflessly worked to help other slaves gain their freedom through the Underground Railroad. When I finished reading "Freedom Train," I read it again. Harriet, though living in slavery, believed that education would set her free. I remember being struck by the fact that she was denied the most basic rights that we take for granted. She wanted to be able to read and write, express her thoughts. She taught herself secretly; her intellect could never be kept in chains.

Dorothy Sterling not only brought Harriet Tubman's story to life for young readers, but she also wrote about other lesser-known African American historical figures and was instrumental in bringing their stories to mainstream American society of the 20th century. In her personal life, she was involved in the Civil Rights movement, worked to rid textbooks of racial bias, and also to improve the way minorities were depicted in children's literature.

Thank you, Dorothy, for shining your light for us all.

Read more about Dorothy Sterling at the Los Angeles Times...


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