Saturday, October 2, 2021

Review of "Pink and Say," by Patricia Polacco

 Review of

Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco ISBN 0590542109

5 out of five stars

True story of boyhood heroism

 It is not commonly known that boys in their mid-teens served in both armies during the American Civil War. Sheldon Russell Curtis was fifteen when he was wounded in battle and separated from his unit of the Union Army. He laid on the ground for two days, moving in and out of consciousness. He was found by Pinkus Aylee of the Forty-eighth Colored of the Union Army. Pinkus then was able to carry Sheldon until they managed to get to safety at the home of Pinkus’ mother, Moe Moe Bay, a slave.

 She was able to nurse Russell back to health, it was his first experience with black people. When he was billeted near Washington D. C., Sheldon was able to shake hands with President Lincoln, so there was a transitive handshake relationship between all people that shook Russell’s hand after that.

Marauders were running wild in what was slave territory, and they eventually came and killed Moe Moe and took Pinkus and Sheldon prisoner. They were transported to the most vile of POW camps in the Confederacy, Andersonville. Approximately 13,000 Union prisoners died there. While Sheldon survived his ordeal, Pinkus died in the camp.

 This story is true and was handed down through the generations in the Curtis family. Sheldon told his daughter Rosa, who told it to her daughter Estella, who told it to her son William, who told it to his daughter Patricia, the author of the book. It is a sad story of the difficult times when a great war was fought over what differences in skin color meant to social structure.

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