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Day of Tears

by Julius Lester


The rain is coming down as hard as regret. It started up just when the selling began. I ain't never seen rain like this. . . . This ain't rain. This is God's tears.

In this masterpiece of historical fiction, award-winning novelist Julius Lester tells the story of Emma--a slave of Pierce Butler and caretaker of his two daughters--and Pierce, a man with a mounting gambling debt and household to protect. Emma wants to teach his daughters, one who opposes slavery and one who supports it, to have kind hearts. Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to survive, Pierce decides to cash in his "assets" and host the largest slave auction in American history. And on that day, the skies open up and weep endlessly on the proceedings below.

Using multiple voices, ranging from those of slaves to free blacks, of slave owners to abolitionists, Julius Lester has transformed a little-known event in American history into a heartbreaking and powerfully dramatic epic on slavery, and the struggle to affirm humanity in the middle of it.

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award.


Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, & More For Day of Tears: