My Country, 'tis of Thee

My Country, 'tis of Thee

How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights

Book - 2014
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Everyone knows the words to My Country, Tis of Thee. What most dont realize is that this iconic song has been a beacon of change for hundreds of years. Generations of protesters and civil rights pioneers have created new lyrics, beginning in royalist Britain and continuing through conflicts in colonial times, the American Revolution, the suffragist and labor movements, and the struggles for black and Native American civil rights. With spectacular illustrations by Caldecott Honorwinning artist Bryan Collier, My Country, Tis of Thee offers a fascinating insight into the American fight for freedom.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, c2014.
New York : Henry Holt and Company, c2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780805082265
0805082263
Characteristics: 48 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Collier, Bryan

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It is a song of patriotism, but it is also a song of protest, with verses highlighting inequalities and trying to make America better. Full-page color illustrations.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 24, 2014

What Murphy manages to do here is tie-in a seemingly familiar song to not just the history of America but to the embodiment of Civil Rights in this country itself. So expertly woven together it’ll make your eyes spin, Murphy brings us a meticulously researched, brilliant work of nonfiction elegance. Want to know how to write a picture book work of factual fascinating information for kids? Behold the blueprint right before your eyes.

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 24, 2014

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 24, 2014

The press for this book says, “More than any other, one song traces America’s history of patriotism and protest.” More than you ever knew. Originally penned in 1740 as “God Save the King”, the tune was sung by supporters of King George II. It soon proved, however, to be an infinitely flexible kind of song. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s followers sang it in Scotland to new verses and it traveled to America during the French and Indian War. There the colonists began to use it in different ways. The preacher George Whitefield rewrote it to celebrate equality amongst all, the revolutionary colonists to fight the power, the loyalists to celebrate their king, and even a woman in 1795 published a protest verse for women using the song. In each instance of the song’s use, author Claire Rudolf Murphy shows the context of that use and then writes out some of the new verses. Before our eyes it’s adapted to the Northern and Southern causes during The Civil War. It aids labor activists fighting for better pay. Women, Native Americans, and African-Americans adopt it, each to their own cause until, ultimately, we end with Barack Obama as president. Backmatter includes copious Source Notes documenting each instance of the song, as well as a Bibliography and Further Resources that are split between “If You Want to Learn More” and “Musical Links”. There is also sheet music for the song and the lyrics of the four stanzas as we know them today.

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