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The Black Rose

Cover of The Black Rose

The Black Rose

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Born to former slaves on a Louisiana plantation in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker rose from poverty and indignity to become America's first black female millionaire, the head of a hugely successful beauty company, and a leading philanthropist in African American causes. Renowned author Alex Haley became fascinated by the story of this extraordinary heroine, and before his death in 1992, he embarked on the research and outline of a major novel based on her life. Now with The Black Rose, critically acclaimed writer Tananarive Due brings Haley's work to an inspiring completion.

Blending documented history, vivid dialogue, and a sweeping fictionalized narrative, Tananarive Due paints a vivid portrait of this passionate and tenacious pioneer and the unforgettable era in which she lived.
Born to former slaves on a Louisiana plantation in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker rose from poverty and indignity to become America's first black female millionaire, the head of a hugely successful beauty company, and a leading philanthropist in African American causes. Renowned author Alex Haley became fascinated by the story of this extraordinary heroine, and before his death in 1992, he embarked on the research and outline of a major novel based on her life. Now with The Black Rose, critically acclaimed writer Tananarive Due brings Haley's work to an inspiring completion.

Blending documented history, vivid dialogue, and a sweeping fictionalized narrative, Tananarive Due paints a vivid portrait of this passionate and tenacious pioneer and the unforgettable era in which she lived.
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Copies-
  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    950
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:
    5 - 6

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Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One DELTA, LOUISIANA
    SPRING 1874

    The slave-kitchers couldn't get her. Not so long as she stayed hid.
    Stealthily, Sarah crouched her small frame behind the thick tangle of tall grass that pricked through the thin fabric of her dress, which was so worn at the hem that it had frayed into feathery threads that tickled her shins.

    "Sarah, where you at?"

    Sarah felt her heart leap when she heard the dreaded voice so close to her. That was the meanest, most devilish slave-kitcher of all, the one called Terrible Lou the Wicked. If Terrible Lou the Wicked caught her, Sarah knew she'd be sold west to the Indians for sure and she'd never see her family again. Sarah tried to slow her breathing so she could be quiet as a skulking cat. The brush near her stirred as Terrible Lou barreled through, searching for her. Sweat trickled into Sarah's eye, but she didn't move even to rub out the sting.

    "See, I done tol' Mama 'bout how you do. Ain't nobody playin' no games with you! I'ma find you, watch. And when I do, I'ma break me off a switch, an' you better not holler."

    A whipping! Sarah had heard Terrible Lou whipped little children half to death just for the fun of it, even babies. Sarah was more determined than ever not to be caught. If Terrible Lou found her, Sarah decided she'd jump out and wrastle her to the ground. Sarah crouched closer to the ground, ready to spring. She felt her heart going boom-boom boom-boom deep in her chest. "Ain't no slave-kitcher takin' me!" Sarah yelled out, daring Terrible Lou.

    "Yes, one is, too," Terrible Lou said, the voice suddenly much closer. "I'ma cut you up an' sell you in bits if you don't come an' git back to work."

    Sarah saw her sister Louvenia's plaited head appear right in front of her, her teeth drawn back into a snarl, and she screamed. Louvenia was too big to wrastle! Screaming again, Sarah took off running in the high grass, and she could feel her sister's heels right behind her step for step. Louvenia was laughing, and soon Sarah was laughing, too, even though it made her lungs hurt because she was running so hard.

    "You always playin' some game! Well, I'ma catch you, too. How come you so slow?" Louvenia said, forcing the words through her hard breaths, her legs pumping.

    "How come you so ugly?" Sarah taunted, and shrieked again as Louvenia's arm lunged toward her, brushing the back of her dress. Sarah barely darted free with a spurt of speed.

    "You gon' be pickin' rice 'til you fall an' drown in them rice fields downriver."

    "No, I ain't neither! You the one gon' drown," Sarah said.

    "You the one can't swim good."

    "Can, too! Better'n you." By now, Sarah was nearly gasping from the effort of running as she climbed the knoll behind their house. Louvenia lunged after her legs, and they both tumbled into the overgrown crabgrass. They swatted at each other playfully, and Sarah tried to wriggle away, but Louvenia held her firmly around her waist.

    "See, you caught now!" Louvenia said breathlessly. "I'ma sell you for a half dollar."

    "A half dollar!" Sarah said, insulted. She gave up her struggle against her older sister's tight grip. Louvenia's arms, it seemed to her, were as strong as a man's. "What you mean? Papa paid a dollar for his new boots!"

    Louvenia grinned wickedly. "That's right. You ain't even worth one of Papa's boots, lazy as you is."

    "There Papa go now. I'ma ask him what he say I'm worth," Sarah teased, and Louvenia glanced around anxiously for Papa. If Papa saw Louvenia pinning Sarah to the ground, Sarah knew he'd whip Louvenia for sure. Louvenia and Alex weren't allowed to play rough with Sarah. That was Papa's law, because...
About the Author-
  • Tananarive Due is a former features writer and columnist for the Miami Herald. She has written two highly acclaimed novels: The Between and My Soul to Keep. Ms. Due makes her home in Longview, Washington.
Reviews-
  • The Washington Post Book World

    "TANANARIVE DUE IS AN ENGAGING STORYTELLER . . . The real-life Walker would probably have been pleased with the way Due depicts her. . . . The Black Rose is an inspiring, motivational book."

Title Information+
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    Random House Publishing Group
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Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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