Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story
By Rita Hubbard
Illustrated by John Holyfield
Born into slavery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, William "Bill" Lewis learned the blacksmith trade as soon as he was old enough to grip a hammer. He proved to be an exceptional blacksmith and earned so much money fixing old tools and creating new ones that he was allowed to keep a little money for himself. With just a few coins in his pocket, Bill set a daring plan in motion: he was determined to free his family.
Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one man’s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.
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About the Creators
RITA LORRAINE HUBBARD is the author of a number of nonfiction books for young adults and runs the children's book review site Picture Book Depot and the historical site The Black History Channel. While researching her book African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes, Hubbard discovered William "Bill" Lewis’s story buried in some earlier history books. She was greatly moved by Lewis’s love of his family and determination to overcome the odds. Hubbard lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can find her online at ritahubbard.com.
JOHN HOLYFIELD is a fine artist whose work has been described as having a strong southern feel that captures the essence of rural life. The main themes in his art are family, spirituality, and culture. In creating this book, Holyfield spoke to a blacksmith/farrier for additional insight about the craft. Holyfield lives with his family in West Virginia. His website is johnholyfield.com.