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Hard Labor

The First African Americans, 1619

Part of Milestone
Illustrated by Joseph Daniel Fiedler


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About The Book

This illustrated historical chapter book introduces young readers to some of the very first African Americans, who came to American in the early seventeenth century.

In 1619, twenty Africans stepped foot on American soil as indentured servants. They came with dreams of the future, knowing if they could hold on and finish out their sentences, they would be free. Who were they, how did they get here, and did their lives go the way they imagined? Details of their stories have been lost over time but what remains is an important piece of American history.

About The Authors

Photo Credit:

Patricia C. McKissack is the author of many highly acclaimed books for children, including Goin' Someplace Special, a Coretta Scott King Award winner; The Honest-to-Goodness Truth; Let My People Go, written with her husband, Fredrick, and recipient of the NAACP Image Award; The Dark-Thirty, a Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner; and Mirandy and Brother Wind, recipient of the Caldecott Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo (c) Matt Kindinger

Fredrick McKissack has nearly twenty years experience as a writer and an editor. His articles, op-eds, and reviews have been published in The Washington Post, Vibe magazine, and others. He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife, Lisa, and their son, Mark.

About The Illustrator

An award-winning, freelance artist-illustrator since 1973, Joseph Daniel Fiedler has produced art and illustrations that have appeared in numerous publications and exhibitions. Fiedler has illustrated children’s books and received a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York. Fiedler’s personal paintings have been exhibited at galleries in Germany, Japan, and throughout the United States. He has taught painting and illustration at Carnegie Mellon University and the College for Creative Studies. Fiedler has lived in Pennsylvania, Japan, New Mexico, and Michigan and now resides in Grass Valley, California. Learn more about Joseph Daniel Fiedler at

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