Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
A Civil Rights Story

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A true story inspires the moving tale of a mule that played a key role in the civil rights movement-- and a young boy who sees history anew.

Sitting on a bench waiting for his mother, Alex spies a mule chomping on greens in someone's garden, and he can't help but ask about it.""Ol Belle?" says Miz Pettway next to him. "She can have all the collards she wants. She's earned it." And so begins the tale of a simple mule in Gee's Bend, Alabama, who played a singular part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When African-Americans in a poor community-- inspired by a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-- defied local authorities who were trying to stop them from registering to vote, many got around a long detour on mule-drawn wagons. Later, after Dr. King's assassination, two mules from Gee's Bend pulled the farm wagon bearing his casket through the streets of Atlanta. As Alex looks into the eyes of gentle Belle, he begins to understand a powerful time in history in a very personal way.

About Calvin Alexander Ramsey

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Calvin Alexander Ramsey is a playwright, photographer, and painter. He adapted one of his plays for print as RUTH AND THE GREEN BOOK, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Calvin Alexander Ramsey lives in Atlanta. John Holyfield has illustrated several books for children, including THE HALLELUJAH FLIGHT by Phil Bildner. John Holyfield lives in Virginia.
Published September 13, 2011 by Candlewick. 32 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend

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It’s a hot summer’s day outside a small country store, and a little boy awaiting his mother is surprised to see a mule munching up a garden full of collard greens.

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Publishers Weekly

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As Alex, a contemporary African-American boy, watches a mule named Belle munching collard greens in a garden in Gee’s Bend, Ala., her elderly owner tells him that the animal can eat all she wants—“She’s earned it.” Inspired by real events, Ramsey (Ruth and the Green Book) and Stroud’s...

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's...


Even though we were poor dirt farmers, descendants of slaves, with only mules to carry our loads, he said, 'I come over here to Gee's Bend to tell you -- you are somebody!'" The woman goes on to say, "...back then, no black person from Wilcox County had ever dared to vote!"

Oct 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's...

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