Picture Books

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Picture book. By Chris Barton. Illustrated by Don Tate. 2015. 50 pages.
An in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the first African-American congressmen.

Time Periods: 18th Century, 1865
Themes: African American, Reconstruction

 The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryThrough the true story of John Roy Lynch, children learn some of the seldom-taught history of Reconstruction. Born into slavery, Lynch decided to stay in his native Mississippi at the end of the Civil War to work with other African Americans to reshape the state and the country. Lynch became a photographer, went to night school, and bought land. Known for his fairness, he was appointed justice of the peace and later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on March 4, 1873. But those advances were short-lived.

As Chris Barton explains:

U.S. congressperson or not, a Black man could still find himself barred from certain hotels. But that wasn’t the worst of it — not by far. Back home, white terrorists burned Black schools and Black churches. They armed themselves on Election Day. They even committed murder.

Due to the graphic portrayal of violence, this book is best for mid- to upper-elementary students. [Description by Rethinking Schools.]

ISBN: 9780802853790 | Eerdmans Books

Learn more in the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction,” and find teaching resources on Reconstruction below.