Books

New & Notable: On Courage

We’re always on the lookout for books that strike a chord with our readers.  This week, as part of our coverage during Black History Month, we focus on two new books on African-Americans’ fight for freedom and civil rights.

 

 Politics & Social Sciences – Sociology – Race Relations

517h98VOk8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, by Eric Foner

This is the dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America’s history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom . . . . Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by “practical abolition,” person by person, family by family.  (Excerpted from a description by the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company.)

Review:

“This book is a capstone,” said Matthew Pinsker, a historian at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., who will be teaching it to K-12 educators at a workshop this summer. “The Underground Railroad was real, and Foner will help ordinary people understand that in a way that doesn’t rely on fiction or quilt stories, but on actual documents and records.” —The New York Times

 

Selma [Ala.) – Race Relations – Juvenile Literature

51Prp8p9AcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery As Told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley

This book [for ages 12 and up] is a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement from one of its youngest heroes. As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history. (Excerpted from a description by the Penguin Group, publisher.)

. Review:

During the first Selma march nicknamed “Bloody Sunday,” Lynda was not only tear gassed but knocked unconscious with a billy club by a cop calling her the “N-word.” It took 35 stitches to stop the blood gushing from her head, yet neither the beating nor the wound could discourage the determined young lady from joining the march from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Montgomery two weeks later. pittsburghurbanmedia.org 

 

Click the book links to purchase on Amazon.com. Proceeds from your purchase help fund Women’s Voices’ nonprofit mission.

 

 

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