Hammering For Freedom


Illustration of African American man hammering a horseshoe.
Illustration of African American man hammering a horseshoe.
Back Cover

An enslaved man rents himself from his owner, relocates to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and spends the next 25+ years working and saving money to free his entire family.


Hi Everyone,
So…this is it! My debut multicultural nonfiction picture book, written for the middle grades, called HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM. It is published by Lee and Low, a publisher that reaches out to and publishes talented new authors and illustrators of color.

I found this story while researching my African American pictorial history, AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA: A HISTORY OF UNSUNG HEROES. Even though I couldn’t work on the story right away, it was always in my mind. I felt the world needed to hear the story of a man who lived during a time when he wasn’t even considered to be a WHOLE MAN, yet he formulated a plan and stuck to it for years until he freed himself and his entire family. I hope the story touches you like it touched me. Thanks for your support!

Product details

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Grade Level: 1 – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (September 4, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600609694
ISBN-13: 978-1600609695
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Book Details

Published Year


Page Count




Other Format & Edition

Paperback, Audible, MP3 CD


Rita Lorraine


Lee and Low Books



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Editorial Review


The true story of William “Bill” Lewis, a man born into slavery who wouldn’t rest until his whole family was free.

The text skillfully includes details about laws governing the lives of enslaved people (Bill travels with a white escort; he buys his wife’s freedom first so that their future children will be born free) while keeping readers hooked through every step of Bill’s plan. Rich illustrations help readers imagine life in the 1800s and show the complexity of Bill’s situation. Readers will root for Bill to the utterly satisfying end.

Powerful and uplifting; William Lewis should be a household name. (afterword, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)


Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2018
Review Posted Online: July 16th, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2018