Freddi Williams Evans is the author of three historical and award-winning picture books: Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret (Carolrhoda, 2008), The Battle of New Orleans, the Drummer’s Story (Pelican Publishers, 2005), and, A Bus of Our Own (Albert Whitman, 2001). She is also internationally recognized for her scholarship on Congo Square, a historical landmark of African American culture in New Orleans. Along with over a dozen published essays and countless presentations, her books on the subject are Come Sunday, A Young Reader’s History of Congo Square (ULL Press, 2017), and Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans (ULL Press, 2011), which received the 2012 Louisiana Humanities Book of the Year award and has been published in French.
As an educator, Freddi administered and implemented arts education programs in the Jefferson Parish Public School System, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center. As a community activist, she has served on several committees to erect historical markers that commemorate African American history, including co-chairing the New Orleans Committee to Erect Historic Markers on the Slave Trade to Louisiana at the request of the National Park Service. Among her numerous honors, Freddi was named the Grand Griot of the 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration in New Orleans in 2019 and a “Humanities Hero” by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 2017.
One of my favorite books is Amazing Grace because of the simple yet successful way in which author Mary Hoffman presents social justice issues including race, class and gender. With family intervention and a bit of inspiration, Grace perseveres and overcomes the self-doubt imposed by society’s racial and gender norms. Grace not only changes inwardly; she becomes a change-agent in the world around her.