In this history of the modern Civil Rights movement, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diane McWhorter focuses on the monumental events that occurred between 1954 (the year of Brown versus the Board of Education) and 1968 (the year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated). Beginning with an overview of the movement since the end of the Civil War, McWhorter also discusses such events as the 1956 MTGS bus boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1963 demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama, among others.The author uses interviews she conducted personally with
Pulitzer Prize winner McWhorter (Carry Me Home) offers an illuminating, sharply focused look at the individuals behind the most dramatic and defining moments of the civil rights movement. Her introduction takes a personal tone, making her account accessible to young readers, and candidly reveals her perspective on the burgeoning movement as a privileged, white sixth-grader in segregated Birmingham in 1963: "I couldn't tell you then what civil rights meant, but grown-ups sounded so disgusted when they mentioned them that I figured they had to be bad words.... The oppression of African Americans around me did not strike me as having anything to do with my life." Yet nearly two decades of researching and writing this history enabled McWhorter to "cross `the color line' and honor the American heroes who had been on the right side of the revolution." Supplemented by concise, invitingly designed sidebars and photos ranging from appalling to uplifting, the narrative chronicles the people and organizations involved in the battle for freedom. Following a brief prologue, the author devotes a chapter to the fight's major milestones, beginning with the Supreme Court's Brown v. the Board of Education decision and the tragic death of 14-year-old Emmett Till, and including the courageous attempts of the Little Rock Nine and Ruby Bridges to attend newly desegregated schools (the author also describes what they achieved as adults), the anti-segregation efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (cofounded by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who contributes a foreword to this book) and the pivotal 1963 March on Washington. McWhorter adroitly shapes an emotion-charged, comprehensive account of a defining moment in American history. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.