SUSIE KING TAYLOR: NURSE, TEACHER & FREEDOM FIGHTER (Rise. Risk. Remember. Incredible Stories of Courageous Black Women), by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Candace Buford, Aladdin, Sept. 26, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 10 and up)
Learn about one of the first Black nurses in the Civil War in Susie King Taylor: Nurse Teacher & Freedom Fighter, by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Candace Buford.
A groundbreaking figure in every sense of the word, Susie King Taylor (1848–1912) was one of the first Black nurses during the Civil War, tending to the wounded soldiers of the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Afterward, she was a key figure in establishing a postbellum educational system for formerly bonded Black people, opening several dedicated schools in Georgia. Taylor was also one of the first Black women to publish her memoirs.
Even as her country was at war with itself, Taylor valiantly fought for the rights of her people and demonstrated true heroism. —Synopsis provided by Aladdin
Susie King Taylor: Nurse Teacher & Freedom Fighter is a middle-grade biography written in first-person voice. Much of the information comes from Taylor’s own narrative Reminiscences of My Life in Camp, which was published in 1902.
The authors also included “additional experiences we imagine must have confronted her… In some cases, we use ‘informed speculation’ — meaning we tried to estimate what Taylor would have experienced — even though she may not have told us about her feelings in writing.” However, the authors tried to use Taylor’s words wherever possible.
The authors do this extremely well.
Susie King Taylor: Nurse Teacher & Freedom Fighter is divided into two parts. The first, is this new biography. The second, is Taylor’s own writing, allowing readers to compare and contrast the two.
Susie King Taylor: Nurse Teacher & Freedom Fighter is as compelling a biography as any that I’ve read. The first-person narrative immediately draws you in, and makes you feel as if you’re right there with Taylor. The biography is full of harrowing moments, but it is the addition of the simplest of details that add depth.
The authors capture Taylor’s voice in prose that is both accessible for the intended audience and engaging for those who are older. It’s an excellent biography.
Susie King Taylor: Nurse Teacher & Freedom Fighter is the first book in a new series — Rise. Risk. Remember. Incredible Stories of Courageous Black Women — spotlighting Black women who left their mark on history.
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