Barbara's Reviews > Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend: A Civil Rights Story

Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
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Dec 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: animals, civil-rights, bullies, ncbla, picture-book
Read in December, 2011

While waiting for his mother outside a general store in Gee's Bend, Alabama, young Alex happens to get into a conversation with one of the locals. She tells him about the mule that is munching away in a nearby field. It seems that the mule, Belle, and the citizens of this town actually played a part in the Civil Rights Movement, and after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Belle was one of the mules chosen to carry his casket down the city streets, something the great leader had requested earlier. I actually like the fact that Alex learns about history in such an unexpected way, through the storytelling abilities of Ms. Pettway, typical of so much that is learned and passed down in the South. I also love the fact that this book explores a little-known aspect of the fight for civil rights, reminding readers that there were a lot of little-known individuals as well as better-known folks such as those in Gee's Bend who were involved. An actual photograph of Belle during the funeral procession and informational text add to reader interest and increase what is known about that particular period of time.
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