Gram’s Gift

Joyce Mosley

Joyce Mosley wants all children to learn the significant contributions made by African Americans from colonial days to the present. She believes that until African American history is treated as American history and include in school curriculums, parents should equip their children with this knowledge. For this reason, she writes “Gram’s Gift,” a story about the legacy of a free African American family living in Philadelphia during slavery.

This book tells the story of an African American family with African, European, and Native American roots. Gram gathers her grandchildren together for a family history lesson about the contributions made by their ancestors to America’s history. Her lesson begins with Cyrus Bustill, born enslaved, purchased his freedom, operated a successful bakery business, and provided bread for George Washington’s troops camped at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.

Cyrus was a businessman, an educator, and a leader in the Black community. His children and grandchildren continued Cyrus’ legacy of leadership as they were agents in the Underground Railroad, solders in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War, and advocates fighting for the right to vote all. Gram’s gift to her grandchildren was this family history.

“This book highlights the roles of people of color during a despicable period in American history. It tells my family’s history. I am sharing years of research about my family with other families in the hope that they will research their history as well,” Joyce Mosley says.

“Gram’s Gift” aims for children to see the value of knowing their family’s history. “I hope this book will inspire families to learn their history and take a journey to their past,” Mosley adds.

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