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In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Timothy Egan

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

Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend: A Civil Rights Story - 'Calvin Alexander Ramsey',  'Bettye Stroud' This book took my breath away. Another chapter in Civil Rights history that is essential to retell, Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend recounts the role that mules played in helping transport blacks to the polls to vote for the first time.The symbolism of mules' humility, strength and steadfastness appealed to Martin Luther King as he encouraged blacks to be strong as they broke through long-held barriers to their civil rights. Belle is a working mule in Gee's Bend, Alabama, and was there the day Martin Luther King came to visit in 1965. His message to the people there was that even though they lead simple, hard lives, they were still somebody.On election day that year, the sheriff had shut down the river ferry, the only means of easily getting to town for the people of the farming community of Gee's Bend. Mules pulled wagonloads of people the better part of a day around the river to town to vote. People lost their jobs for voting. After Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, the community of Gee's Bend was called with a request for mules to pull his coffin through the streets of Atlanta. Without the proper papers to transport livestock across state lines, the mules were stopped and the people were threatened with arrest. Calls were made, and the mules were allowed to proceed. Belle was one of two mules that pulled the wagon with Martin Luther King's body three and a half miles through the city of Atlanta. Nearly fifty thousand people marched in quiet procession behind the wagon that sad day. That's why to the people of Gee's Bend, Belle is a hero. Atlanta playwright Calvin Alexander Ramsey, is also the author of https://www.lernerbooks.com/products/t/10902/9780761352556/ruth-and-the-green-book from Lerner Publishing.