Review of Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman’s Case for Equality and Respect

Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman’s Case for Equality and Respect Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman’s Case for Equality and Respect
by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    40 pp.    g
2/22    978-1-5415-6040-6    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5415-9936-9    $9.99

Mary Hamilton was a teacher, a ­Freedom Rider, a CORE regional director, and an agent of change. Carole Boston ­Weatherford’s (Unspeakable, rev. 1/21, and many others) poetic free-verse text provides readers with a brief sketch of ­Hamilton’s extraordinary life before shifting focus to her judicial fight for dignity. Hamilton’s nonviolent resistance to injustices of the Jim Crow South led to many encounters with Southern law enforcement, including several arrests, one of which had a resounding impact on the legal world. In an Alabama courtroom, when a white prosecutor disrespectfully called her by her first name, she refused to answer unless he called her “Miss ­Hamilton,” even when she was ordered by the judge to respond. Hamilton was held in contempt of court. The NAACP-backed lawsuits that followed led to an important Supreme Court ruling, which requires judges and lawyers to address all participants in a courtroom with dignity and respect. Jeffery Boston Weatherford’s (You Can Fly, rev. 7/16) large, striking scratchboard and collage illustrations, which often incorporate archival photographs, complement the clear narrative. A variety of typefaces are used to accentuate the art and emphasize Hamilton’s bold actions. A detailed timeline and a list of further reading round out this impressive volume.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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