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

Sept 25, 2008

Page Count




Other Format & Edition



Rita Lorraine,

Rita Lorraine Hubbard


Lee and Low Books



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Editorial Review


  • Starred Kirkus Review – Powerful and uplifting; William Lewis should be a household name. (afterword, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-9) - https://tinyurl.com/vd9q9mx
  • Starred BookListOnline ReviewThis [book] is a terrific combination of words and art. Lewis is perhaps one of those hidden figures, but his determination, resolution, and smarts are all on display here -  https://tinyurl.com/rfg4b6v
  • Junior Library Guild SelectionA well-crafted picture book biography that belongs in every elementary nonfiction collection -  https://tinyurl.com/vysmqfj
  • Starred Hornbook ReviewThis is an inspiring and worthy picture-book biography of a man and his dreams fulfilled -  https://tinyurl.com/w84fdmg