Ephraim Wright has kept a secret for seventy years. Half of the secret gives him regret, the other half gives satisfaction. <--I think these two sentences are not quite as powerful as they could be. The phrase "gives him" is not very powerful. Try something like: For the past 70 years, Ephraim Wright has kept a secret. Half of the secret causes him satisfaction, but the other half deep regret. When a young writer requests an interview for the Federal Government’s Slave Narrative Project during the Great Depression, Ep feels it is time to reveal what really happened at Wattensaw Bayou in 1863.
i find the transition between paragraphs 1 and 2 confusing. It's not quite clear to me that you are now going into the events that he wants to reveal. I had to go back and re-read the previous paragraph to see the "past 70 years" part and reconcile that with him being 13 years old. I think this might have to do with the use of present tense for past events. Is your novel in present tense or past? Maybe if you said something like "At the beginning of the Civil War, Ep was thirteen years old, the only slave..." Ep is thirteen at the beginning of the Civil War and the only slave in a rural Arkansas Unionist family. Raised with the family since he was two years old, he is never once required to call Jonathan Wright, his benevolent owner, "master." His speech, manners and outlook on life are more akin to his white "siblings" (not sure you need quotes since you have said he was raised by them) than the other slaves in the community who chide him for being a “pet nigga” and “talkin’ like white folk.” He is stranded between two worlds; (<--semicolon vs colon) that of free whites, and of enslaved blacks.<--not sure you need this last line, as it is implied by the previous two.
Confederate conscript officers take the family's oldest son at gun point, and Ep is beaten unconscious by the soldiers during the ensuing scuffle. <---it is exciting that this happens, but if the second sentence is what changes everything, I might delete the first line and just start at the second line to continue the buildup that your synopsis is creating. But Ep’s life is irreversibly changed when Charlie Spears and his bushwhacker gang ransack the farm, steal the livestock and gun down Jonathan Wright. Managing the farm falls on Ep's young shoulders and his white "masters" (you have already told us that the masters are his family. just say family.)come to rely on him for strength and guidance as he plants the crops and covertly aids his older "brother" (quotes not needed), now a deserter from the Rebel Army.
New responsibilities and his burning hatred for Charlie Spears transform him from a carefree adolescent to a determined and vengeful young man. The law forbids a slave to touch a firearm, because a “Negro with a gun is a nervous thing to white folks.” (just a question--should negro be lowercase?) Ep can't raise his hand to any white man good or evil. (<----not sure you need this line either) But where his family is concerned, Ep is never one to care about what the law says.
WHEN FREEDOM COME (51,000 words) is an upper middle grade historical novel inspired by actual events. Much of the African American dialog is based on true accounts by ex-slaves in The Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. just say "...is an upper MG novel inspired by actual events and true accounts by ex-slaves". adding the title feels like a bibliography and feels almost like you only read one source, which of course i'm sure you didn't The novel is complete at 51,000 words. (don't need, add to first sentence of paragraph)
I am a historian and archaeologist and have had several non-fiction articles published in: (don't need colon) Army History Magazine, Naval History Magazine, The Army Space Journal, Military Historian and Collector Magazine, and On The Trail Magazine. (<---add this sentence to previous paragraph) I am a member of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. your qualifications speak for themselves, so i don't think you need to add your scbwi membership. After reading your query the first thing I want to know is---are you African-American? If so include this information since it adds further credibility, if not, never mind.
Thank you for your time and consideration
I hope this helps and I'm sure I'll be reading this novel in print someday!