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For 20 years, Carole Boston Weatherford worked for the National Bar Association in Washington, DC and North Carolina. After becoming a mother, she enrolled in a master's level creative writing program at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Although she entered the program writing poetry for adults, she graduated wanting to write historical fiction and poetry for children. Weatherford's first children's book, Juneteenth Jamboree, was published in 1995. Since then she has authored more than two dozen children's books.
Weatherford says that persistence is one of the keys to her success. "I had manuscripts that had been rejected 20 times before finding a home with a publisher," she recalls. "But I keep going and I believe in what I write about." Weatherford creates the kind of books that weren't available to her as a child: ones that feature African-American protagonists. In the late 1990s Weatherford began teaching college courses in composition, creative writing, and children's and adolescent literature.
Today Carole Boston Weatherford is an associate professor at Fayetteville State University. She and her husband live in High Point, North Carolina.
What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All, sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.
Henry Brown wrote that, long before he came to be known as Box, he “entered the world a slave.” He was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next — as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope — and help — came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!
In stanzas of six lines each, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown’s story of how he came to send himself in a box from slavery to freedom. Strikingly illustrated in rich hues and patterns by artist Michele Wood, Box is augmented with historical records and an introductory excerpt from Henry’s own writing as well as a time line, notes from the author, and a bibliography.