I received this book for free from Albert Whitman in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fearless Mary by Tami Charles
Published by Albert Whitman on January 1, 2019
Source: Albert Whitman
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A little-known but fascinating and larger-than-life character, Mary Fields is one of the unsung, trailblazing African American women who helped settle the American West. A former slave, Fields became the first African American woman stagecoach driver in 1895, when, in her 60s, she beat out all the cowboys applying for the job by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses. She won the dangerous and challenging job, and for many years traveled the badlands with her pet eagle, protecting the mail from outlaws and wild animals, never losing a single horse or package. Fields helped pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.
Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary and Black Mary, was the first African-American female star route mail carrier in the United States. Two other women, Susanna A. Brunner in New York and Minnie Westman in Oregon, were known to be White mail carriers in the 1880s.
Born as a slave in Tennessee during the administration of Andrew Jackson, Mary was sixty years old in 1895 when she became the second woman and first Black person to ever work for the U.S. Post Office. Over the next six years, Mary and her pet eagle rode her stagecoach all over Montana and never missed a day of work, never failed to deliver mail and was never late once.
This story is so inspirational and empowering for readers of all ages. America was built in part by mail carriers and truckers, the people who move goods and products from place to place. Writer Tami Charles brilliantly explores the history of a woman whose contributions to the mail carrier industry was overlooked for years. I’m so grateful for historical picture book biographies like Fearless Mary that expose hidden figures like Mary Fields to ensure their stories are told to younger generations. It’s great for reading during Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or anytime of the year. Recommended age range: 5-7 years and up.
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