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Elijah Lovejoy's Fight for Freedom

By

Loved it! 😍

Like William Wallace of "Braveheart" lore, Lovejoy's cry rang out for all to hear, "They may take my life but they can't take my freedom!"

Synopsis

Two decades before the Civil War, Elijah P. Lovejoy used his newspaper to demand an end to slavery - dangerous beliefs that turned deadly as mobs repeatedly destroyed his press and then took his life. Lovejoy’s death turned slavery into a national debate and helped mobilize the abolitionist movement. It also made people more committed to protecting free speech and freedom from punishment by private citizens. As relevant today as when Lovejoy took his stance.

Children's biography for grades 5 and up. 48 pages.

This is the life story of a man who insisted on his constitutional right to speak freely about unpopular subjects and refused to be intimidated by those who would silence him. Just days before his murder, Elijah told a crowd, “Think not that I regret the choice I have made. While all around me is violence and tumult, all is peace within.”

Elijah Lovejoy was not a brash warrior; however, he did stand up to tyranny as an abolitionist and used his voice, filled with quiet strength and determination, to make his message clear, "I can die at my post, but I cannot desert it" (referencing his work as an editor at the time).


What I appreciated about this book is that it didn't seek to portray Rev. Elijah Lovejoy as a saint. In fact, the book was a well-rounded representation that included Lovejoy's life prior to when he became a man of faith and after he was "made new."


A voracious reader, from a young age, is it any wonder that he became a man of many words, opinions, and convictions that he couldn't help but passionately share? Often reading and writing go hand-in-hand for writers of all stripes, creeds, and colors. What sets Elijah Lovejoy apart was that he was reading, writing, and sharing his thoughts via printing press in the 1800's!


A man ahead of his time, his embrace of freedom for all to include free speech (both in spoken and written forms) didn't catch fire among the townspeople in which he lived; instead, they sought to catch fire, dismantle, and destroy Lovejoy's ability to spread the messages he felt called by God to share.


I like books that educate, books that are not necessarily mainstream but teach of fringe characters that broke down barriers and stood up for their values and beliefs. This book fits that bill!


Bringing history to life via pictures of artist renderings as well as actual artifacts that were salvaged, having been discovered within deep waters, made this book engaging and a 4 star read. Without the images, this book would have fallen flat as facts only take children so far within their willingness to absorb information; however, because of the inclusion of images, this book offers a great deal of value and insight into how life was once lived.


The most powerful quote (to me) shared in this story of Elijah Lovejoy's life is one you could imagine ringing from sea to shining sea in modern day America too, "... as long as I am an American citizen, and as long as American blood runs in these veins, I shall hold myself at liberty to speak, to write, and to publish whatever I please on any subject..."; amen, brother, amen!

Reviewed by

Reading books and writing reviews brings with it every emotion under the sun; forever changing, forever changed, and I wouldn't have it any other way. May my words not only help fellow readers but also the authors of the books we read.

Synopsis

Two decades before the Civil War, Elijah P. Lovejoy used his newspaper to demand an end to slavery - dangerous beliefs that turned deadly as mobs repeatedly destroyed his press and then took his life. Lovejoy’s death turned slavery into a national debate and helped mobilize the abolitionist movement. It also made people more committed to protecting free speech and freedom from punishment by private citizens. As relevant today as when Lovejoy took his stance.

Children's biography for grades 5 and up. 48 pages.

This is the life story of a man who insisted on his constitutional right to speak freely about unpopular subjects and refused to be intimidated by those who would silence him. Just days before his murder, Elijah told a crowd, “Think not that I regret the choice I have made. While all around me is violence and tumult, all is peace within.”

About the author

I am a member of SCBWI and an active student of children’s writing. My published work for young readers to date includes four non-fiction books for Capstone Press, three independently published biographies and articles for children's magazines. I love connecting with other readers and writers! view profile

Published on September 01, 2020

Published by

8000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Children's Books

Reviewed by

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