Monday, January 16, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Miles to Go For Freedom by Linda Barrett Osborne

Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation & Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years
written by Linda Barrett Osborne
Published in associate with The Library of Congress
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012
Grades 5 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURBTold 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.

There are many books available for children and young adults about the Civil Rights Era, some are naturally better than others.  But in order for children and young adults to truly understand the Civil Rights Era, they need to understand what came before.  This book beautifully tells that story.   The fabulous design adds greatly to the power of the story Osborne has to tell.  With access to the Library of Congresses large collection of materials, Osborne gives the reader a glimpse into a time not so long ago through both general explanations and individual experiences.  Reading about those who suffered so much and yet kept fighting is inspiring to say the least. 

One of the things that I found fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time, was the account of what was going on in the North at the same time as Jim Crow came into being in the South.  I learned a lot about the treatment of those who moved North hoping for better conditions.  Conditions were better, but not by much, discrimination was still the order of the day, even if it wasn't specified by law.  Even the federal government tried to keep African Americans down.  It's also a story about the power of a single voice and the power of collective voices.  I highly recommend this title for any and all American History classes and for those interested in where are country has been and how far we've come through the efforts of many, black and white.

Head on over to The Swimmer Writer for Nonfiction Monday.


  1. One of the things I love most about Nonfiction Monday is that it leads me to books such as this one - my reading materials have diversified considerably ever since we participated in NFM. I have just recently recommended 30 books in our library for purchase based on my visits to quite a number of bookblogs through NFM - and I will definitely add this one to the list. Many thanks for sharing.

  2. As a Canadian, I didn't learn much in school about the Jim Crow era, and I find myself drawn to information about it as an adult.

    How heartbreaking it must have been to do so much, uproot your lives to go to the North to find it wasn't much better. I wonder how much better it was in Canada. This is an aspect of history (too recent for comfort) I need to know more about.


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