Academic journal article Language Arts

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness

Academic journal article Language Arts

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness

Article excerpt

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness Written by Donna Janell Bowman Illustrated by Daniel Minter Lee & Low, 2016, unpaged, ISBN 978-1-62014-148-9

Despite growing up enslaved in Tennessee in 1833, William "Doc" Key was educated alongside his owner's sons. This education, Doc's natural ability with animals, and his mother's lessons about herbal remedies gave Doc the professional skills needed to establish a statewide reputation for healing animals before even reaching adulthood. He "saw how some animals were neglected, beaten, and worked to death. He was gentle and patient with them instead." As a free man after the Civil War, Doc insisted the best way to fight continued racism was to be kind to all and to become a successful businessman, opening a horse hospital, blacksmith shop, restaurant, hotel, racetrack, and medicine wagon in the process. His "Keystone Liniment," used on both horses and people, made him wealthy. But it was a weak, sickly colt named Jim that made Doc-and his message of kindness-famous. …

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