Illustrator Rachelle Baker created more than 70 pictures for the new book by Blair Imani, which explores the struggles and accomplishments of Black Americans in the 20th century


In the new book "Making Our Way Home," the stories of the Great Migration of African-Americans in the early 20th century are visualized by Detroit illustrator Rachelle Baker.

The local artist was tapped by author, historian and public speaker Blair Imani to create the imagery for this new book, which gives readers a broad look at a decades-long span of time that covers voting rights, Reconstruction, Motown and even the rise of hip-hop. 

 "I feel like right now in the world, it's important to get stories that usually aren't widely covered and known and I think this book has that," said Baker, who connected with author Imani via social media. " Knowing where you come from is really important, and knowing what people have had to go through in their lives and in their past."

Baker, who created around 70 illustrations for "Making Our Way Home," said there's also a lot of fun stuff in the 192-page book. 

"I tried to show that in the illustrations, to give it personality," she said. "I wanted to make sure that not just serious things were shown but a lot of people looking accomplished and inspiring. When I did all of my image research, I looked for triumphant pictures and pictures where people could look into the book and see themselves there, as a slice of history."

"Making Our Way Home" was released Tuesday on Ten Speed Press. Find it online, or at local stores like Vault of Midnight comic book shops. 

Next, Baker, who actually quit her job at the Detroit location of Vault of Midnight in May to become a professional illustrator, will provide artwork for a children's book by Veronica Chambers called "Shirley Chisholm is a Verb," about the late pioneering politician. 

"She is so powerful and amazing," said Baker of Chisholm. "It's definitely something really important to me and I'm learning more and more about her with every picture I draw." 

"Shirley Chisholm is a Verb" is due out this summer on Penguin Kids.

Twitter: @melodybaetens

"Making Our Way Home" 

Released Tuesday

Ten Speed Press

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