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The Local Take Talks with Author Carole Boston Weatherford - Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

This week on The Local Take, we’re speaking with Carole Boston Weatherford, author of a new children’s book about the Tulsa Massacre called“Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” with illustrations by Floyd Cooper.  Both of these artists have won numerous awards. 

Ms. Weatherford is considered the dean of Black Children’s non-fiction and has written over fifty books on harrowing stories in our history.  She has won some of the top awards for children’s books, including the 2021 Newberry for her book Box Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. She tackles these historic touchpoints in our country’s history with nuance and respect for children.

Weatherford explains that she is a poet who wrote for adults when she began to gravitate towards historical stories. She realized that children deserved a more authentic history of their people and culture. She speaks about children being quick to notice injustices. Children are not fooled by an account that has been whitewashed.

I ask how she can make these often unbearable stories appropriate for children.  These are stories that make adults uncomfortable. Weatherford speaks about choosing age-appropriate details. She also uses words and phrases that children recognize as being part of the story. She shares how she did this in the book Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre.

Weatherford shares that she considers children of all races reading and learning from her authentic history books. Covering these historical stories ranging from Fannie Lou Hammer to Harriett Tubman and Aretha Franklin to Gordon Parks, I ask if she was surprised. She speaks about researching John Coltrane and finding his third-grade class picture. His teacher was her relative. She also speaks about the relationship between Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe. 

For more information on Carole Boston Weatherford

For more information on Weatherford's Books