New Shoes and Sole Hope


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Eleventh Stack are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting books, music and movies by African American Artists. We also have a ton of great events and programs for children, teens and adults. You can view all of our Black History Month posts here.

There was a joke about African Americans having bad feet. But once you bought a shoe, it was yours. You couldn’t exchange it. And you couldn’t try it on in the store.
Betty Ellison-Harpole

When I was reading the book New Shoes by Susan Meyer I cringed when Ella Mae wasn’t allowed to try on shoes. I know this was simply one more Jim Crow indignity piled upon a mountain of indignities, but imagining a little girl unable to try on shoes…


New Shoes, Susan Meyer

When her brother’s hand-me-down shoes don’t fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson’s shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is forced to wait when a customer arrives after her and is served first. Ella Mae is unable even to try on the shoes because of her skin color. Determined to fight back, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte work tirelessly to collect and restore old shoes, wiping, washing, and polishing them to perfection. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giving the other African American members of their community a place to buy shoes where they can be treated fairly and “try on all the shoes they want.” Set in the South during the time of segregation, this stunning picture book brings the civil rights era to life for contemporary readers.


In celebration of Black History Month, CLP- South Side is having a special storytime and shoe-cutting party for the whole family. What is a shoe-cutting party, you may ask? Using patterns from the charity Sole Hope we will use denim and plastic to create shoe soles for children in Uganda. We’ll collect our soles and send them to Sole Hope, where trained shoe-makers create shoes for those in need.

New Shoes and Sole Hope
Saturday, February 20
2-4 PM


We could use the following donations for our party on Saturday!
Jeans or denim
Fabric scissors (just letting us borrow a pair for the day would be awesome!)
Clean milk jugs and/or laundry detergent bottles
$10 to sponsor a pair of shoes

Hope to see you Saturday!

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