Sometimes inspiration is found in unexpected places. When I first started reading this book meant for children ages 6-12, I certainly wasn't expecting to be affected so deeply and personally. Part biographical, part devotional, Heroes in Black History: True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes tells positive life stories and provides biblical insights into the lives of fourteen notable Christian African-Americans. The book by husband and wife team, Dave & Neta Jackson is an excellent Christian resource for families to use during Black History month in February or for special study any time of the year.
The book includes a short two-page biography for each Christian hero followed by three devotional style stories drawn from their life. Each life story centers on a specific Christian quality such as compassion or wisdom and at the end of the story a key bible verse is emphasized followed by three questions for reflection. Black and white portraits drawn by Toni Auble of the individual heroes accompany the biographies. The heroes featured are:
Harriet Tubman • Samuel Morris • Amanda Smith • Charles Albert Tindley • George Washington Carver • William Seymour • Mary McLeod Bethune • Thomas A. Dorsey • Eliza Davis George • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. • John Perkins • Festo Kivengere • Ricky and Sherialyn Byrdsong • Ben Carson
What I found most compelling about this book was the authors’ ability to impart so much factual information while discussing the importance of Christianity in the lives of the heroes featured. I am truly amazed by how much I learned from reading this book. I never realized that Harriet Tubman suffered from terrible headaches due to an inflicted blow to her head and didn’t know anything about Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music.” I’m glad the compilation includes a few contemporary individuals such as Ben Carson and Ricky Byrdsong as well.
Heroes in Black History provides parents with an interesting and engaging way to share real-life stories of faith with their children. The amazing faith and determination demonstrated by the individuals featured in the book should help young and old alike grow spiritually in their own lives. I look forward to sharing this book with my children when they are older. In the meantime, I plan on revisiting this book myself and using it in my own devotional studies.
Heroes in Black History: True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes, by Dave and Neta Jackson. Bethany House (February 2008); 192 pages; ISBN 9780764205569
Dave and Neta Jackson Website