The past is not past. We may think something ancient history, or something that doesn’t affect our present day, but we would be wrong.
Those Who Saw the Sun is a collection of oral histories told by Black people who grew up in the South during the time of Jim Crow. Jaha Nailah Avery is a lawyer, scholar, and reporter whose family has roots in North Carolina stretching back over 300 years. These interviews have been a personal passion project for years as she’s traveled across the South meeting with elders and hearing their stories.
One of the most important things a culture can do is preserve history, truthfully. In Those Who Saw the Sun we have the special experience of hearing this history as it was experienced by those who were really there. The opportunity to read their stories, their similarities and differences, where they agree and disagree, and where they overcame obstacles and found joy – feels truly like a gift.
P R A I S E
“These elders’ voices are a collective treasure.”
—School Library Connection
About the Author
Jaha Nailah Avery is an African American woman and proud Southerner. Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, she received her law degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied constitutional and civil rights law. She spent several years in the startup tech space before embarking on her professional writing career, and her work can be found in The New York Times,Rolling Stone, and Architectural Digest. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a Diamond Life member of the NAACP. Her aim is to always document, celebrate, and preserve the stories of Black people, communities, and history.
[STAR] "These elders’ voices are a collective treasure." — Kirkus (starred)
“Compelling" — School Library Connection
“Chilling… bring[s] alive the realities of life under Jim Crow” — Booklist
[STAR] "Profound… Avery’s thoughtful questions and the answers they elicit engage well with the impressive minds, often put-upon bodies, and persisting souls of subjects and readers alike.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred)
[STAR] “Powerful… Avery highlights essential perspectives on significant cultural moments and movements by centering the voices of those who lived them. With the intention of preserving varied Black experiences and the wisdom and knowledge they offer, the creator crafts a vital, nuanced depiction of a fraught period in American history via myriad perspectives.” — Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Avery, a journalist with a background in law, documents the voices of African American elders. Sharing their experiences of life in the segregated South, they offer today’s young readers a critically important window into recent history." – Kirkus Reviews