The Spirit of Freedom: Powerful Women of the Civil Rights Movement

Rowman & Littlefield. Feb. 2024. 230p. Tr $32. ISBN 9781538177358.
Gr 8 Up–Readers have likely grown up learning about civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, but what about all of the countless others who stood up for the rights of Black Americans? This work explores the stories and contributions of 17 women not often featured in the history books, but who left their mark on freedom today. This book adeptly presents backstory and definitions on the court cases, political figures, and historical moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Readers are further immersed as segregation and the Jim Crow South are vividly described to set the scene with every story. Each chapter shares the life and accomplishments of a woman during this time, featuring at least one photograph of the subject and notes of sources for the information presented at the end of each chapter. From Leah Chase feeding the movement from her restaurant, a safe haven for Black people, to Jo Ann Robinson, who fought segregated transportation long before Rosa Parks, there are incredible stories herein. The racism and sexism these women faced make for an inspiring read.
VERDICT A solid nonfiction historical read, with short but impactful stories of women fighting for civil rights.

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