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Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories

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In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the first to integrate the public schools, and to face In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the first to integrate the public schools, and to face violence, arrest, and even death for the cause of freedom. "Thrilling...Nothing short of wonderful."-The New York Times Awards: ( A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year ( A Booklist Editors' Choice


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In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the first to integrate the public schools, and to face In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the first to integrate the public schools, and to face violence, arrest, and even death for the cause of freedom. "Thrilling...Nothing short of wonderful."-The New York Times Awards: ( A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year ( A Booklist Editors' Choice

30 review for Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Riley

    This book shows exactly how much of a drawn out concerted effort the fight for equal rights was in the 50's and 60's. These are stories of young people, college students who are just normal people who have had enough and had some direction on what to do to change an unfair, unjust society. The South truly is and was a backwards bastion of white hate, prejudice and apathy. The book proves how there were a small minority of whites who actively fought the civil rights movement-they were usually in This book shows exactly how much of a drawn out concerted effort the fight for equal rights was in the 50's and 60's. These are stories of young people, college students who are just normal people who have had enough and had some direction on what to do to change an unfair, unjust society. The South truly is and was a backwards bastion of white hate, prejudice and apathy. The book proves how there were a small minority of whites who actively fought the civil rights movement-they were usually in positions of power. But more disturbing was the percentage of whites who continued to follow the example set by their ancestors of believing blacks inferior. These whites discouraged and ostracized whites in the south from also organizing to end Jim Crow. They believed blacks should "know their place". In light of the recent Supreme Court decision ending enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, this book is particularly relevant. It proves that in order for the South to change the Federal government must intercede to enforce equality and the constitution. If the federal government hadn't of federalized national guard troops or sent in the FBI to investigate the murders of activists, then the South never would've changed on its own regardless of the efforts of the movement. This pattern has shown itself since the Civil War. When the Federal government relaxes enforcement the South reverts back to its bigoted ways and squashes constitutional rights. The conclusion is: the South CANNOT govern itself. They are like children living in a "Lord of the Flies" style existence without federal intervention. Now Texas and other states have ALREADY moved to restrict voting rights.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    This was generally solid. I have a preference for first-person source history, and this one prioritized the voices of the young activists, and managed to do so in a way that made sense as an overall discussion of the civil rights movement.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    A non fiction book is always true. Some of the many topics of non fiction books are: food, art, or events in history. “Freedom’s Children” by Ellen Levine is a book about the Civil Rights Movement in America between the 1950s and 1960s. It talks about people's experiences throughout this time period. In the book, one person that I read about, was Ben Chaney. He was a young black boy who lived in Mississippi. He and his family lived across the street from a white family. Ben used to play with the A non fiction book is always true. Some of the many topics of non fiction books are: food, art, or events in history. “Freedom’s Children” by Ellen Levine is a book about the Civil Rights Movement in America between the 1950s and 1960s. It talks about people's experiences throughout this time period. In the book, one person that I read about, was Ben Chaney. He was a young black boy who lived in Mississippi. He and his family lived across the street from a white family. Ben used to play with the the white kids until the white children’s parents said that he couldn’t anymore because of segregation. The mother said that her kids were better than he was and he had to call her kids “mister”. Fred Shuttlesworth, Jr. from Alabama was another character highlighted in the book. He was a young black boy whose house, on Christmas day, was bombed. After that day, he had to live with his aunt and uncle while their house was being rebuilt. He also started stuttering every once in a while. The thing that Fred could not figure out was why someone would want to harm him and his family. Something that I was reminded of while reading this book was that people would get arrested for protesting peacefully. Something that was surprising to me was that black people were not allowed to try clothes or any kind of accessories on at stores. There are 7 chapters in this book. In each chapter, it talks about real people’s experiences. There are also black and white photos, a table of contents, an epilogue, chronology, who’s who, acronyms, bibliographical note, and index. I think that this book was organized and laid out well and was easy to understand. I think this because the names of the Civil Rights Activists were written as headings so you knew as the reader when the next person was telling their story and who it was. I thought that the author’s writing style was clear and descriptive because I was able to picture myself as the activists. I think that it was interesting to read because I did not know some of the things that happened during the Civil Rights Movement that were talked about in the book. I can not tell if the author is or is not a credible expert on this topic because she interviewed real people for this book. I do think that the author was probably biased because she only told one side of the story. She never interviewed any of the white people. When reading this book, people can expect to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, even if they have already learned some things about it before. This book showed how the Civil Rights Movement affected everyday individuals. Something that I would critique about this book was that it was not very descriptive for some of the activists while for others, it was very descriptive. I think that anyone who is in at least 5th grade could read this book. I think that they should read this book because it includes important and true information about the Civil Rights Movement which was important to our history. I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars because there was not a lot of detail, but there was still enough detail to visualize what you were reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Another nonfiction book!They are so interesting and so good now, can learn a lot of experience and opinions from them. After reading this book, I've learned many things that teachers don't even teach us in class. Freedom's Children, is a story made of many stories from different people who experienced the segreation first hand. Throughtout all these short stories, great emotions, attitudes, feelings and thoughts are being expressed and let out in a way that touches their readers strongly, well a Another nonfiction book!They are so interesting and so good now, can learn a lot of experience and opinions from them. After reading this book, I've learned many things that teachers don't even teach us in class. Freedom's Children, is a story made of many stories from different people who experienced the segreation first hand. Throughtout all these short stories, great emotions, attitudes, feelings and thoughts are being expressed and let out in a way that touches their readers strongly, well atleast it did for me. All these stories tell from the same perspective reavealing the same attitude towards the government, the whites and society in general. They tell the stories of the hardship the colored people had to go through during discrimination, segregation in the 1950's, in the US. The stories start from the experience of Segregation, to the Bus Boycott in Montgomery, to the different protestes and movements students took during the segregation and finally just different divisions black had between the whites. In all these stories, witnesses and victims all tell their stories and struggles they had during this time period. They are truly touching and can give you a whole new persepctive in this world. After reading this book, I got a strong sense of nationalism blacks had, which gave them the strenth to fight for their rights in this country. If it wasn't for their nationalism, then they would still be racial divisions in this country. We wouldn't be as united and diversed as we are today. If we are not united as a country, racially, then is the United States truly the UNITED States?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I read this book as part of a community service project I participate in called Promising Pals. My penpal is a seventh grade boy, and this year's theme is courage. The first-hand accounts of the civil rights movement in this book define courage. All of the people who tell their stories here were children during the movement, from age 8 to age 17. Many were arrested multiple times, even the 8-year olds, and many were assaulted by segregationists. I was amazed at their commitment to nonviolence; I I read this book as part of a community service project I participate in called Promising Pals. My penpal is a seventh grade boy, and this year's theme is courage. The first-hand accounts of the civil rights movement in this book define courage. All of the people who tell their stories here were children during the movement, from age 8 to age 17. Many were arrested multiple times, even the 8-year olds, and many were assaulted by segregationists. I was amazed at their commitment to nonviolence; I'm not sure I could have done the same in their shoes. What stood out the most was their total commitment to the cause. These children weren't pressured into participating. Each one felt a personal desire to join the cause and march for their freedom. Many of them speak of an inner pull towards the movement, something older black people couldn't always act on. Children don't have children of their own to feed, whereas a black adult with a job and a family can't risk losing that job, as much as he or she might want to join the fight. Overall, these young activists demonstrated a fierce desire to reach their goals that my own generation, the Millenials, hasn't really shown.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine. School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Booklist Editors' Choice From back cover: In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine. School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Booklist Editors' Choice From back cover: In this inspiring collection of true stories, thirty African-Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation in the South-to sit in an all-white restaurant and demand to be served, to refuse to give up a seat at the front of the bus, to be among the first to integrate the public schools, and to face violence, arrest, and even death for the cause of freedom. "Thrilling...Nothing short of wonderful."-The New York Times Age Range: 10 and up Grade Level: 5 and up Lexile Measure: 760L

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Massey

    This book take place throughout the civil rights movement. In this book it shows all the pain and struggle blacks have to live with because of the color of theirs skin. For example the Montgomery bus boycott which took place during 1955 to 1956. The protest was for blacks to be able to sit in front of the bus. Also this book have actual people talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation down South. What I like about the book is that it has multiple people telling their experience This book take place throughout the civil rights movement. In this book it shows all the pain and struggle blacks have to live with because of the color of theirs skin. For example the Montgomery bus boycott which took place during 1955 to 1956. The protest was for blacks to be able to sit in front of the bus. Also this book have actual people talk about what it was like for them to fight segregation down South. What I like about the book is that it has multiple people telling their experience during segregation. I enjoy that because everybody went though different things. I really didn't fine anything wrong with the book but they could have gave us a little bit more facts about the setting before going straight into other people stories about what happen. Overall I do recommend the book to all people who would like to learn about African American history.This book gives you all types of situations that took place down south during segregation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Remmick

    “Freedom’s Children” is a powerful, in your face collection of memoirs about growing up black in the South during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It tells of the injustice, bigotry, and horrific racism that they faced on a day to day basis, until they’d had enough. Even though some may find the different points of view on the same events boring, I believe it gives the book depth based on the different experiences and thoughts that come from the same movement or protest. For example it tells the stories o “Freedom’s Children” is a powerful, in your face collection of memoirs about growing up black in the South during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It tells of the injustice, bigotry, and horrific racism that they faced on a day to day basis, until they’d had enough. Even though some may find the different points of view on the same events boring, I believe it gives the book depth based on the different experiences and thoughts that come from the same movement or protest. For example it tells the stories of Delores Boyd and Arlam Carr who they, along with 11 others, integrated Lanier High School. However, Delores tells about the prejudice she faced. Arlam tells about the struggle to get accepted into Lanier and how the students eventually warmed up to him being there. If you are interested in the civil rights movement, historical fiction, or simply are looking for something new and different, I highly recommend you consider reading “Freedom’s Children”.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason Kurtz

    This is the chronological story of the civil rights movement, told by the young children/students who were involved at the time. A lovely, complete work that covered many aspects of the civil rights movement of which I was not aware. An especially revealing section was that of Claudette Covlin, who refused to give up her seat in the white section of a bus nine months before Rosa Parks did it, but because she was a minor, it was not highly publicized. The Rosa Parks incident seemed more plotted a This is the chronological story of the civil rights movement, told by the young children/students who were involved at the time. A lovely, complete work that covered many aspects of the civil rights movement of which I was not aware. An especially revealing section was that of Claudette Covlin, who refused to give up her seat in the white section of a bus nine months before Rosa Parks did it, but because she was a minor, it was not highly publicized. The Rosa Parks incident seemed more plotted and planned that I had ever understood it to be. Books like Freedom’s Children should be used as text books, instead of a standardized text. I learned more about the civil rights movement from Levine, than I did in four years of high school history, and from a minor in history in college. What an achievement.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Taylor

    I enjoyed everything about this novel it was wonderful to read stories from the children and teens involved in the civil rights movement. It was intriguing to hear about their experiences with segregation and racism In the south at young ages. The teens were actively involved in the movement and they weren't scared to fight for their equality. The stories of sheyann Webb, Claudette Colvin, Ben Chaney, and other teenagers and children actively involved in the movement. I recommend this novel if y I enjoyed everything about this novel it was wonderful to read stories from the children and teens involved in the civil rights movement. It was intriguing to hear about their experiences with segregation and racism In the south at young ages. The teens were actively involved in the movement and they weren't scared to fight for their equality. The stories of sheyann Webb, Claudette Colvin, Ben Chaney, and other teenagers and children actively involved in the movement. I recommend this novel if you want to learn more about the civil rights movement and the roles young people had in the movement. The novel also talks about the beginning of the organization sncc dr Martin Luther king's influence on the young people at the time and Bloody Sunday.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I’ve learned about the civil rights movement school, of course, but this book helped to humanize it for me. Ive Heard about what happened, but this book showed it. I didn’t realize how LONG it took for change to come about. The stories in this book tell of people protesting every day for years, despite beatings and killings. Reading it this way is much more personable than reading a detached text book version of the civil rights movement. The kids featured in here were so brave, and their persev I’ve learned about the civil rights movement school, of course, but this book helped to humanize it for me. Ive Heard about what happened, but this book showed it. I didn’t realize how LONG it took for change to come about. The stories in this book tell of people protesting every day for years, despite beatings and killings. Reading it this way is much more personable than reading a detached text book version of the civil rights movement. The kids featured in here were so brave, and their perseverance is incredible. This book would be an excellent addition to any middle or high school history class.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kit

    I got goosebumps when I read the first-person accounts in this book. Levine interviewed people who had been boys and girls during the Montgomery bus boycotts, Freedom Summer, and the Selma movement, and this book is their stories of their activism. From kids who were four years old and sat on Dr. King's lap at meetings to nine-year-olds who went to jail, they're amazing people who wouldn't be stopped when they realized that there was a chance to change the world. The opposition against them was I got goosebumps when I read the first-person accounts in this book. Levine interviewed people who had been boys and girls during the Montgomery bus boycotts, Freedom Summer, and the Selma movement, and this book is their stories of their activism. From kids who were four years old and sat on Dr. King's lap at meetings to nine-year-olds who went to jail, they're amazing people who wouldn't be stopped when they realized that there was a chance to change the world. The opposition against them was brutal and appalling, but their hope and courage is amazing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    This is an easy read, giving an overview of the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of the kids who lived it. Some of the accounts are just a paragraph. While others are several pages. Levine includes accounts from all the major events of the decade from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s. She divides them by chapters: general segregation practices, bus boycotts, school segregation, freedom marches, Freedom Summer, and Freedom Rides. It's well written and perfect for upper elementary students This is an easy read, giving an overview of the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of the kids who lived it. Some of the accounts are just a paragraph. While others are several pages. Levine includes accounts from all the major events of the decade from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s. She divides them by chapters: general segregation practices, bus boycotts, school segregation, freedom marches, Freedom Summer, and Freedom Rides. It's well written and perfect for upper elementary students.

  14. 4 out of 5

    SaraJane

    Really appreciated reading the perspectives of young children and adults and seeing how their journey of involvement begins in the fight for equality. The testimonials remind me once again about the courage needed to stand up for what you believe in. Page 46 " Our nonviolence was an act of logic." Really appreciated reading the perspectives of young children and adults and seeing how their journey of involvement begins in the fight for equality. The testimonials remind me once again about the courage needed to stand up for what you believe in. Page 46 " Our nonviolence was an act of logic."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    A great book about the American Civil Rights movement, told my people who were children and teens at the time. It's organized well around personal narratives that recount many of the major episodes of the movement. A great book about the American Civil Rights movement, told my people who were children and teens at the time. It's organized well around personal narratives that recount many of the major episodes of the movement.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dominick

    i like this book and i think boy like my age can read and relate to it

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Amazing to read these letters. Every American owes it to him or herself to read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexx Mendezz(:

    Just flat-out life changing. To think that all of this really happened, and these words actually came out of people's mouths makes you think twice about how miserable you really are. Just flat-out life changing. To think that all of this really happened, and these words actually came out of people's mouths makes you think twice about how miserable you really are.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Multiple perspectives; civil rights movement; civil rights activist; African American History

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    My students and I truly enjoyed this text and the rich discussions that accompanied the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    A.C.E. Bauer

    Inspiring stories! This is a great introduction to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s from the point of view of the children who participated and lived through it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Had to read it for lit group in reading I didn't like it at all. Had to read it for lit group in reading I didn't like it at all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    You can't get braver and more impressive than the children in this book. It was a beautiful read, full of chilling and inspirational stories. Wow. You can't get braver and more impressive than the children in this book. It was a beautiful read, full of chilling and inspirational stories. Wow.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    It was so interesting to read the stories of children and teens involved in civil rights activities. I really wasn't aware of a lot of this... It was so interesting to read the stories of children and teens involved in civil rights activities. I really wasn't aware of a lot of this...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Frencham

    I love the idea of this book, but it really, truly could benefit from some updating.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Mae

    The youth of the Civil Rights movement tell their stories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Siebold

    Reporting as adults, these are the stories of the children of the south and how they were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The tales are inspiring and horrifying simultaneously.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I really liked this book and it was very good.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alice Ball

    Absolutely excellent resource for teaching empathy and empowerment. A must have for every school library, and every middle-high school social studies teacher.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    So many interesting stories -- good to read so many personal accounts; a "behind the scenes" look at the Civil Rights movement So many interesting stories -- good to read so many personal accounts; a "behind the scenes" look at the Civil Rights movement

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