Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend

This book is a nominee for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend tells the true story of a very special mule and the people she represented. As young Alex learns from Mrs. Pettway, Belle’s owner, this animal played a very important part in the Civil Rights Movement.

Years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited the small town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and urged the folks there to do whatever they could to vote. For many of them, it meant traveling by mule for half a day to visit the polls. Many of those who voted lost their jobs in nearby Camden, but, like their mules, these hardworking people kept going, no matter what others did or said to them.

A few years later, when Dr. King was assassinated, the people of Gee’s Bend were asked to send mules to carry his coffin through the streets of Atlanta. Belle was one of those mules.

As Alex learns the history behind Belle and the Civil Rights Movement, so will young readers. This book is an excellent addition to reading lists about this important period in history, and it will also be welcome as part of celebrations for Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month.

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