Sunset Park teen’s book celebrates Black History Month

SUNSET PARK — Sunset Park resident Agatha Edwards is just 16 years old, but she is already a published author with six books under her belt including “The 100 Most Important African Americans.”

Now, the Stuyvesant high school junior is raising funds via GoFundMe in order to give away 3,000 free copies of the book to kids in Brownsville for Black History Month.

“The 100 Most Important African Americans” details the lives of important African Americans including activists, public servants, soldiers, lawyers, writers, painters, athletes and many more.

“I wanted to give something back for the kids in Brooklyn,” Edwards told this paper. “I wanted them to be inspired by stories of real people who overcame huge odds, slavery and oppression to make a great contribution to America. These are 100 heroes who kids don’t know about. If they knew about them, they could use them as a model and be inspired,” she added.

Heroic historical figures discussed include abolitionist Harriet Tubman, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, rebellion leader Nat Turner, writer W.E.B. Du Bois, and composers and musicians Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, as well as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Rep. Barbara Jordan, novelist and teacher Toni Morrison, writer and activist Maya Angelou and President Barack Obama.

Edwards explained why she chose to write this book. “Popular culture has the worst kinds of role models,” she said. “History can show us the best kinds of role models.”

For the project, Edwards is collaborating with Brownsville Heritage House. “I wanted to work with Brownsville Heritage House because it was founded by Mother Gaston,” she told this paper.

“I learned about her and included her in my book. Mother Gaston founded Brownsville Heritage House and devoted herself to teaching neighborhood kids about their history and heritage. This effort is really a big thanks to her for her sacrifices for others,” she added.

Other books by Edwards include “The 100 Most Important New Yorkers,” “The 100 Most Important American Women,” “The Mystery of the Badlands,” “Grace and Susie” and “The Mystery in Arches.”

“So far, 103 donors have helped raise $2,662,” according to Edwards.

“The goal is to raise $10,500 to buy the 3,000 books and we will distribute them in one of New York’s most economically disadvantaged areas. It’s an incredible way to celebrate Black History Month, by putting this book into the hands of a child and helping affect them,” she added.

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