Cover image for Searching for Sarah Rector : the richest Black girl in America
Title:
Searching for Sarah Rector : the richest Black girl in America
ISBN:
9781419708466
Physical Description:
76 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps ; 27 cm
Contents:
160 acres -- Three and a half dollars an acre -- Twelve and a half percent -- One million dollars.
Reading Level:
1050 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
Summary:
Recounts the story of the 1914 disappearance of eleven-year-old Sarah Rector, an African American who was part of the Creek Indian people and whose land had made her wealthy, and what it reveals about race, money, and American society.
Holds:

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as "the richest black girl in America." Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns.Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a trove of primary documents, including court and census records and interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces together the events of Sarah's life and the lives of those around her.The book includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.Praise for Searching for Sarah RectorSTARRED REVIEWS"This handsome volume with its many photographs is carefully sourced and has a helpful glossary, illustration credits and index. Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author's note attests."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review"This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text."--School Library Journal, starred review "Bolden's remarks on tracking down Sarah's story will appeal to those who enjoy untangling historical mysteries."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


Author Notes

Tonya Bolden is the author of ten books, including "Strong Men Keep Coming", "The Family Heirloom Cookbook", & "33 Things Every Girl Should Know". She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Horn Book Review

How Sarah Rector came into her money goes back to the Trail of Tears, when the Five Tribes were forcibly removed from their lands and resettled in Indian Territory. Black members of the Creek nation, Sarah's family's allotted land happened to sit on oil. Bolden unfortunately never found first-hand accounts, but the volume is handsomely designed, the history fascinating. Bib., glos., ind. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, young Sarah Rector was among the African American members of the Creek nation who were granted allotments of land. From a poor farming family, Sarah was 12 years old when an oil well drilled on her land became a gusher. A guardian was appointed to manage her rapidly increasing fortune until she came of age, and newspapers began to print poorly investigated and sometimes alarming stories about her. Rector's biography takes some unexpected turns as Bolden follows leads that slant the story one way, only to discover that the truth lies in another direction. In this meticulously researched book, she separates fact from fiction as she traces the relevant history of the Creek nation, land allotments in early twentieth-century Oklahoma, and Rector's life. Part of the story becomes Bolden's challenging search for reliable information, and she integrates some of those personal details into the narrative. Along the way, the book offers intriguing glimpses of American life during Rector's time period. Handsome design and excellent production enhance the effectiveness of the many archival illustrations, which include photos, maps, and legal documents. Like Scott Reynolds Nelson and Marc Aronson's Ain't Nothing But a Man (2007), this handsome book illuminates the process of historical research as well as the enigmatic figure in the spotlight.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2014 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-8-When Sarah Rector turned 18 in 1920, the young black woman had amassed a fortune estimated at $1 million. In telling her story, Bolden makes a largely unknown portion of American history accessible to young readers. Rector and her family were "Creek freedmen," black citizens of the Creek Indian nation. When the Creeks were forced to resettle west of the Mississippi in the 1800s, each one received a land allotment. Sarah's contained rich oil deposits, making her enormously wealthy. As a result, there was great media interest in her whereabouts and lifestyle, though much of the reporting was highly inaccurate and speculative. When she disappeared, the black-owned newspaper the Chicago Defender and the NAACP even suggested that Sarah had been kidnapped and that her legal guardians were profiting at her expense. All of this was untrue. In telling Rector's story, Bolden admittedly had to deal with gaps in information. Yet, piecing together the facts clearly reflects Bolden's skill as a history writer-her rigorous questioning of documents; her own clearly stated position on what the "facts" mean; and her extensive use of visual material, such as newspaper articles, maps, paintings, and photographs. In an author's note, Bolden tells how she first learned about Sarah, how she researched her life, and how-in the process-she found evidence that was contrary to what she expected. This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text. Pair it with Bolden's Maritcha (Abrams, 2005), another book that deals with the challenges of writing history when there are gaps in available historical evidence.-Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

In 1914, 12-year-old Oklahoman Sarah Rector attracted attention when it became known that the oil found on land allotted to her by treaty was worth a fortune. When Native Americans were forced from lands in the American South, many took their slaves with them to Indian Territory, where they became citizens after the Civil War and, as such, received land allotments. Most blacks farmed the land they received, even though it was often a difficult life. When oil was discovered in Oklahoma territory, the wrangling over the land and profits of minors like Sarah intensified as guardians, some unscrupulous, were appointed to oversee financial affairs. In Sarah's case, the scrutiny included commentary in the black press and even questions raised by the NAACP. This little-known episode demonstrates the confluence of various threads in U.S. history, among them slavery, shifting policy toward Indians and westward expansion. Drawing extensively on primary sources, Bolden has done an admirable job in simplifying a complex situation for young readers. More importantly, she shows how intertwined seemingly disparate historical factors can be. As, unfortunately, there are no first-person accounts left by Sarah Rector, readers don't really get to know the person who triggered the controversy, but the lively narrative makes clear the tenor of the period. This handsome volume with its many photographs is carefully sourced and has a helpful glossary, illustration credits and index. Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author's note attests. (Nonfiction 10-14)]]]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.