Sheila P. Moses (1961–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights
Born 1961, in Rich Square, NC.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
Writer and theatrical producer.
National Book Award finalist for Young People's Literature, 2004, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, 2005, both for The Legend of Buddy Bush.
(With Dick Gregory) Callus on My Soul: A Memoir, Longstreet Press (Atlanta, GA), 2000.
The Legend of Buddy Bush, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.
I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott, foreword by John A. Madison, Jr., illustrated by Bonnie Christensen, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Return of Buddy Bush, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Baptism, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2007.
I, Dred Scott was adapted as an audiobook by Recorded Books, 2005.
In her writing, Sheila P. Moses has explored poetry, drama, fiction, and biography. The ninth of ten children, she was born and raised in Rich Square, North Carolina, and she draws on this setting for her novels The Legend of Buddy Bush, The Return of Buddy Bush, and The Baptism. Taking place in 1945, The Legend of Buddy Bush introduces twelve-year-old Pattie Mae Sheals, a girl who becomes aware of racism and segregation as the civil-rights struggle takes root and violence touches her family in the form of the attempted lynching of her uncle Buddy. Pattie Mae's story continues in The Return of Buddy Bush, as the girl learns the rich, noble history of her family following her grandfather's death and travels north to Harlem, New York, to visit her sister and locate Uncle Buddy. Reviewing The Legend of Buddy Bush, a contributor to NimbleSpirit.com commented that Pattie Mae is "a girl on the cusp of a young womanhood that is upon her, perhaps, too soon and under too stressful circumstances." In Kirkus Reviews, a reviewer noted that while the novel's first-person narrative is not always appropriate to Moses's multi-layered tale, The Legend of Buddy Bush is nonetheless "an important story."
I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott presents Moses's take on the infamous U.S. Supreme Court case handed down in 1850. The high court's ruling declared that blacks, both slave and free, could not be considered citizens of the United States. Also declaring the Missouri Compromise of 1820 to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the ruling legitimized slavery in the nation's newly acquired regions. In determining that Scott, an escaped slave who had lived for several years in the "free" state of Illinois, must be returned to slavery, the U.S. Supreme Court helped spark the U.S. Civil War. Inspired by the simple plaque outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, where Scott was tried, Moses decided to delve deeper into the history of the events surrounding Scott's trial, as well as his background. The result is a book written as if from Scott's point of view, though Moses discovered more about the defendant's owners than about the man himself. In order to write as authentically as possible, she researched other slave narratives and studied interviews with former slaves. The book also benefits from its foreword, which is written by John A. Madison, Jr., Scott's great grandson. Claire Rosser, in a review for Kliatt, called Moses's effort "an accessible vehicle to tell about this important legal case," while Teresa Bateman noted in School Library Journal that I, Dred Scott presents "a glimpse [of pre-Civil War America] that youngsters will not soon forget."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Ebony, January, 2005, review of The Legend of Buddy Bush, p. 27.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of The Legend of Buddy Bush, p. 1361.
Kliatt, January, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott, p. 10.
School Library Journal, July, 2005, Teresa Bateman, review of I, Dred Scott, p. 61.
USA Today, February 4, 2005, Bob Minzesheimer, review of I, Dred Scott.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2005, KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson, review of I, Dred Scott, p. 46.
Washington Post, February 6, 2005, review of I, Dred Scott, p. D8.
DallasBlack.com, http://new.dallasblack.com/ (February 23, 2005), "Sheila P. Moses."
NimbleSpirit.com, http://www.nimblespirit.com/ (February 23, 2005), "Sheila P. Moses."
Simon & Schuster Web site, http://www.simonsays.com/ (March 6, 2006), "Sheila P. Moses."
Washington Post Online, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (February 23, 2005), "Sheila P. Moses."
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