Schele Williams, who is scheduled to direct an upcoming tour of Aida, is penning a new book about the history of slavery aimed for young readers.
Abrams Children’s Books, the Associated Press reports, will release Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History in October 2021. Illustrated by Tonya Engel, the new tome is described as an “uplifting introduction to African-American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestors, their accomplishments and sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered.”
Williams said in a statement, “I remember learning about slavery in elementary school. My teacher read out loud about the Civil War and slavery as I sat transfixed by the accompanying illustrations…I felt shame, isolated and othered seeing my ancestors in rags and shackles. I had so many questions but didn’t know where to begin. When my children came of age, I wanted them to hear about their history from me. So I searched for a children’s book about our enslaved ancestors but couldn’t find one...so I wrote it.”
Williams appeared on Broadway in the original cast of Aida and Rent before serving as associate director of Motown the Musical. She is also a founding member of the advocacy organization Black Theatre United.