Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years

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Overview

Told through unforgettable first-person accounts, photographs, and other primary sources, this book is an overview of racial segregation and early civil rights efforts in the United States from the 1890s to 1954, a period known as the Jim Crow years. Multiple perspectives are examined as the book looks at the impact of legal segregation and discrimination on the day-to-day life of black and white Americans across the country. Complete with a bibliography and an index, this book ...

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Overview

Told through unforgettable first-person accounts, photographs, and other primary sources, this book is an overview of racial segregation and early civil rights efforts in the United States from the 1890s to 1954, a period known as the Jim Crow years. Multiple perspectives are examined as the book looks at the impact of legal segregation and discrimination on the day-to-day life of black and white Americans across the country. Complete with a bibliography and an index, this book is an important addition to black history books for young readers.

Praise for Miles to Go for Freedom
*STARRED REVIEW*
“A detailed and thought-provoking account of segregation. A valuable and comprehensive perspective on American race relations.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*“Readers will come away moved, saddened, troubled by this stain on their country’s past and filled with abiding respect for those who fought and overcame. Osborne expertly guides readers through this painful, turbulent time of segregation, enabling them to understand fully the victims’ struggles and triumphs as they worked courageously to set things right.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*
“The text is elegant and understated. Drawing on personal interviews, the author provides incidents of everyday racism that young people will be able to grasp and relate to immediately.”
School Library Journal, starred review

"Tight, consistent focus, pristine organization, and eminently browsable illustrations make this middle-school offering a strong recommendation."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Osborne’s book is a well-written chronicle of the African-American struggle for equal rights in the United States. The reader will be quickly engaged."
Library Media Connection

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Osborne continues her chronological exploration of the racial history of the United States, following Traveling the Freedom Road (2009) with a detailed and thought-provoking account of segregation, with specific focus on the tumultuous years between the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision (which came to establish the idea of “separate but equal”) and Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Osborne writtes that for the two decades following the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments, “disfranchisement (not being allowed to vote) and rigid legal segregation did not exist.” Nevertheless, she explains, concerted efforts by Southern states led to the establishment of voting literacy tests and other changes to state-level voting laws, which aimed to counteract the gains made during Reconstruction, as well as the Jim Crow laws, which separated blacks and whites both physically and psychologically. Published in association with the Library of Congress, the book offers numerous captivating b&w photographs, first-person accounts of horrific violence and dehumanization, and descriptions of individual and collective defiance. A valuable and comprehensive perspective on American race relations. Ages 10–14. (Feb.)¦
Library Journal
As a native Pacific Northwesterner, I felt some geographic and historical distance from the more egregious offenses of the Jim Crow laws—that is, until I read this well-researched and beautifully presented account of the history and impact of segregation. For herein, I learned that even what is now a progressive Seattle neighborhood issued a covenant in 1927 agreeing that property owners would not allow “Negroes or any person of negro blood” to occupy, buy, lease, or rent a home. Beginning with the Supreme Court’s “separate but equal” ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson, laws like this one were common throughout the South, the North, and on a national scale (as in the military). It took another Supreme Court ruling, 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, to open access for all and make stories like Charlayne Hunter Gault’s (above) possible. Published in association with the Library of Congress, Osborne’s book is a beautiful addition in a year rich with Civil Rights era offerings.

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—This companion to Osborne's Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery and the Civil War Through Reconstruction (Abrams, 2009) painstakingly documents a period of "widespread discrimination, cruel prejudice and daily humiliation" from the late 19th to mid-20th century. The book showcases pieces from the Library of Congress's African-American history collection, including photographs, drawings, and documents. Each page is laid out in a restrained scrapbook style with dynamic black-and-white photos and reproductions offset by jewel-toned frames. The text is elegant and understated. Drawing on personal interviews, the author provides incidents of everyday racism that young people will be able to grasp and relate to immediately. One man recalls growing up in North Carolina, where African Americans were served hot dogs through a 12-inch hole in a wall at the back of a restaurant rather than served face-to-face. One striking photograph shows a man in profile climbing steep stairs to a separate "colored" entrance to a movie theater, while another depicts a burned-out, broken-down school bus for black children. A letter from 1926 contains a one-sentence letter: "I am sorry, but no colored students are accepted at the Peabody University." Osborne's archival and storytelling talents are equally powerful. Her clear-sighted narrative does not hold back from exposing cruelty, but she never lets sorrow overwhelm it.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard H.S. Early College, Queens, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Cogent and stirring, this very readable book focuses on the Jim Crow era, that period between 1896 and 1954, a shameful time in U.S. history framed by two landmark Supreme Court cases. From the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court sanctioned "separate but equal," until Brown v. Board of Education, a case that found school segregation unconstitutional, African-Americans, even post-slavery, were subjected to injustice, brutality, humiliation and discrimination in education, housing, employment and government and military service. Osborne expertly guides readers through this painful, turbulent time of segregation, enabling them to understand fully the victims' struggles and triumphs as they worked courageously to set things right. The seamless narrative benefits from handsome design: Accompanying the author's excellent text, which is illuminated by many quotes, are superb contemporary photos, set into the text, scrapbook-style, and other primary-source documents from the archives of the Library of Congress. The visuals and captions add much to readers' comprehension of the period, the difficulties African-Americans endured and their hard-won victories. Readers will come away moved, saddened, troubled by this stain on their country's past and filled with abiding respect for those who fought and overcame. (timeline, notes, bibliography, note on sources) (Nonfiction. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419700200
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 487,333
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Barrett Osborne is the author of several books for children and on African American history, including Abrams’ Traveling the Freedom Road. She is a senior writer and editor in the Library of Congress’s Publishing Office. She lives in Washington, DC.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Powerful! It is difficult to realize that these atrocities took

    Powerful! It is difficult to realize that these atrocities took place in not so distant a past; our past. Important read for all students so that our past is not repeated.

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