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  • Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls by Tonya Bolden
  • Elizabeth Bush
Bolden, Tonya Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls. Abrams, 2017 124p illus. with photographs
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4197-1455-9 $24.95
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-6131-2973-9 $18.65 R Gr. 4-7

There are plenty of collective biographies on black American notables, but Bolden broadens the usual reach, highlighting only a few names that get plenty of press—e.g., sailmaker James Forten, banker Maggie Lena Walker—and turning attention to lesser-known persons who made their names in a host of activities that will light readers’ interest. There’s early nineteenth century magician Richard Potter, who toured with his wife as an illusionist and ventriloquist; Sissieretta Jones, a glamorous singer who played Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall but refused to lighten her features to take a shot at professional opera; Oscar Micheaux, who produced black silent films; Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, a mathematician who worked as a “computer” for NASA. Bolden relates the tales of her subjects with a zest that will make for great classroom readalouds. Insets and sidebars are included in each entry to set the story within historical context and to introduce other persons of color who shared the same career. Illustrated with period pictures, candids, and portraiture, this will be appreciated by casual browsers as well as report writers with interests ranging from cartooning to architecture, from combat pilots to race car drivers. Notes, glossary, and an index are included. [End Page 259]



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