Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery & the Civil War Through Reconstruction


In association with the Library of Congress.

From the perspective of those who lived through a time of pain, strife, and hope comes a powerful message for Black History Month and all year long.

Told through unforgettable first-person accounts from slave narratives, journals, diaries, and other sources—much of it never before published for young people—this book is an overview of the antebellum South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1800 to ...

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In association with the Library of Congress.

From the perspective of those who lived through a time of pain, strife, and hope comes a powerful message for Black History Month and all year long.

Told through unforgettable first-person accounts from slave narratives, journals, diaries, and other sources—much of it never before published for young people—this book is an overview of the antebellum South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1800 to 1877. The perspectives of children and adults who lived through this time and witnessed its significant events are provided alongside photographs, engravings, news clippings, and other archival material held in the collections of the Library of Congress, and offer a poignant message for readers. A bibliography and an index round out the many offerings of this important addition to black history books for young readers. 

F&P level: W
F&P genre: I

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Published in conjunction with the Library of Congress, this book features numerous archival photographs, maps, handwritten letters, and other documents that depict the experiences of African Americans during the first two centuries of our country's existence. The struggles black people faced and their courage as they dealt with slavery and injustice throughout this time period are presented in a straightforward, readable narrative. In addition to major historical events and significant court cases, Osborne has included personal stories about individuals who sought freedom and equality. These specific examples contribute to a depth of understanding of the atrocities and hardships endured. Additional details about people who supported African Americans in their pursuit of liberty are interwoven throughout the text. The elegant design of the book will appeal to both students and teachers. Includes a timeline, a bibliography, and an index. This is an excellent resource for young researchers. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
VOYA - Robbie Flowers
Skill is required when offering a book on slavery, a painful component of American history. This book does it well, and it almost seems effortless the way that the author weaves a nonfiction piece that takes readers through the periods of slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction. Osborne makes sure to keep the information flowing and even offers simpler terminology as necessary throughout the text. Not a sentence is wasted, and it is amazing how much information is crammed into a relatively short treatment. The author even makes sure to include quotes from text written by slaves and freemen so that the reader may hear them tell their own stories. Along with the rich text, there are plentiful illustrations and photographs that really give the reader a feel for the subject matter. Everything from artwork to actual photographs of newly freed slaves color this book and make it an essential title. Even the pages are designed to look like worn parchment. Rarely does one see a book of this caliber—especially for youth. This book is essential purchase for any library and definitely needs to be on hand for school libraries and public libraries. Reviewer: Robbie Flowers
School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up

The past is brought to life through this exceptional work, replete with fascinating stories, fluid and expressive writing, wrenching personal accounts, and stirring visuals from the Library of Congress collection. The highly readable text documents the journey of a country built on the precept of freedom yet divided by the immorality of slavery. Diaries and interviews turn the facts of slavery into a living, breathing account of painful family separations, the lash of the whip, and the desperation to escape at any cost. The letters and personal essays of children, escaped slaves, abolitionists, and black soldiers, as well as others, lend authenticity to the brave words spoken and deeds accomplished so long ago. News accounts of slave auctions and antislavery almanacs signify the reality of the times. The Black Codes, the Fugitive Slave Law, as well as other legislation, court cases, and amendments are clearly explained, not just for their legal importance but also within the context of the effects they had on those who were enslaved. The inspired text is enhanced by the accompanying high-quality photographs, prints, and drawings. A must-have for all collections.-Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
Published in association with the Library of Congress, this lavish volume attempts to provide a history of America's peculiar institution from the late colonial days through Reconstruction, using materials from the Library's collections to evoke the experiences of enslaved Americans. There's an astonishing compression at work here, as Osborne moves from explanations of the political zeitgeist and legal machinations that made slavery possible to the words of those affected, taken from contemporary slave narratives and the Depression-era transcripts of the Federal Writers' Project. That no one aspect of the experience can be dealt with at length means that this is of necessity an overview-not an introduction, as the language, particularly that of the primary source materials, is too complex for that. It makes a good foundation for the many fine works that explore more thoroughly subtopics such as the Underground Railroad or plantation life. The handsome design that incorporates a bounty of archival visuals into the presentation is this book's greatest strength; the captions tie these images neatly to the overall narrative. (timeline, notes, bibliography, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810983380
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 982,023
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Barrett Osborne is the author of several books for children and on African American history. She is a senior writer and editor in the Library of Congress’s Publishing Office. The library’s vast resources include the most comprehensive collection of images and manuscripts in the world from this period.

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