answering the cry for freedom: stories of african americans and the american revolution


YA & Up

  • History
  • Enslavement
  • Colonization
  • Revolution

Gretchen Woelfle & R. Gregory Christie


For #SweetsAndSocialJustice this week, I looked into what the colonizers would be baking in the area where I live (what is now called Massachusetts). Fruit, maple syrup, and molasses were all popular ingredients. This made me go on a deep dive about historical beekeeping, and this article was quite helpful. That article made me want to learn about Indigenous beekeeping practices (and if there were any before colonization), and I found this site. For those of you who don’t know, I’m eagerly awaiting the days when I can have my chicken coop and beehive on our homestead. Also, the native bee species to North America do not produce honey, and the honey bee was introduced by colonizers in the early 1600’s. I channeled my historical baking, and made an apple almond upside down cake!

Answering the Cry for Freedom is a book that explores primary sources of 13 Black individuals fighting for collective liberation. Perhaps you weren’t taught anything about the Black experience during the Revolutionary War (I sure wasn’t), enslaved or free. R. Gregory Christie has created bold quotes and silhouette illustrations to show the most important moments of the people covered in the book.

Boston King was born enslaved, self-liberated, re-enslaved, and then liberated himself a second time. He sailed to Nova Scotia and then Africa, finally writing a memoire in England. Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman was born enslaved in Massachusetts, and successfully sued for her freedom. Ona Judge is also talked about, who a few picture books have been written about as well.

I appreciate how this book takes a look at the entire life of the folks covered in the book, with great care shown to provide direct quotes, listing sources and notes. This is a non-fiction book, and would be a fantastic addition to any curriculum centered around the Revolutionary War. The book provides valuable information about historical events and how they affected more than just white colonists, as well as provides a slew of new figures dedicated to social justice to look up to.

This book was kindly sent from Boyds Mills & Kane, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to review it. All opinions are my own!

Apple Almond Cake


1c almond flour

1/4c flour (I use gluten free all-purpose)

1/2t baking poweder

1/4t cinnamon

1/4t turmeric (Just try it! The spice brings a lovely depth of flavor to the cake.)

pinch of salt

3T melted butter

1/4c maple syrup (I use dark)

2 eggs

1/2t almond extract


Heat oven to 325. Measure and whisk together dries, measure and combine all wet ingredients, whisking both together to make a homogenous batter. I spray a pie pan with non-stick spray or butter, and spread 1c apple pie filling (I used my chunky homemade applesauce, which is basically the same) on the bottom of the pie pan. Drop cake batter by spoonfuls over apple filling and smooth gently. Bake for about a half hour, it took around 33-35 minutes in my oven. Cake will be golden brown around the edges and pulling away slightly. Let cool for 10-15 minutes in pie pan before turning it out upside down on a cooling rack, so the apple filling is on top. The cake will be thin, perfect for a snack or with tea!

Gretchen Woelfle

Gretchen Woelfle has published fiction and nonfiction for young readers. Jeannette Rankin: Political Pioneer won the 2008 Once Upon A World Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance and was named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book by NCSS and a Booklist Top Ten Youth Biography. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

R. Gregory Christie

R. Gregory Christie is an award-winning , children’s book illustrator, and lecturer with a long track record of creating uniquely inspiring moments through art. He is a NAACP Image award winner and was the artist for the United Postal Service’s Kwanzaa Stamp in 2013. He’s done everything from John Coltrane album covers to animated films on Netflix.

His lectures on art, diversity and literature are family friendly and he has made it his missions to educate and connect audiences to books in a way that is both fun and engaging. Not only does he lecture at conferences and libraries, he also teaches after school art programs all over the country, enabling creative kids to have an early exposure to a world of beauty, wonder, and opportunity.

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