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Director Schele Williams is writing book on enslavement

September 30, 2020 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway director Schele Williams is working on a book for young people about the history of enslavement.

Abrams Children’s Books announced Wednesday that Williams’ “Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History” will come out in October 2021. The publisher is calling “Your Legacy” an “uplifting introduction to African American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestors, their accomplishments and sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered.”

Williams said in a statement that the book, which will include illustrations by Tonya Engel, was inspired in part by her childhood education.


“I remember learning about slavery in elementary school. My teacher read out loud about the Civil War and slavery as I sat transfixed by the accompanying illustrations,” she said. “I felt shame, isolated and othered seeing my ancestors in rags and shackles. I had so many questions but didn’t know where to begin. When my children came of age, I wanted them to hear about their history from me. So I searched for a children’s book about our enslaved ancestors but couldn’t find one . . . so I wrote it.”

Williams is directing the upcoming revival of “Aida,” the Elton John-Tim Rice musical, and previously served as associate director of “Motown: The Musical.” She is also a founding member of Black Theatre United, an advocacy organization which also includes Anna Deavere Smith, Audra McDonald and Wendell Pierce.