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From the Publisher
The story of the modern civil rights movement is one of the most powerful and significant of 20th century American experience. Now Free at Last brings those turbulent years of struggle to life. It begins with an illustrated history of slavery and moves through the Civil War to the modern era and the ongoing fight for tolerance and equality. This alone is powerful history, but it is the second section of the book that makes the events real and personal for the reader. Forty short biographies tell the story of someone who lost his or her life in the struggle for equality. Emmet Louis Till spoke to a white woman one day and was dead the next because "he thought he was as good as a white man." Addie Mae Collins was one of the young people killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Her death made the pain of racism apparent even to whites who would never experience it themselves. These and other life stories anger and break out hearts, but they also inspire us and offer a stirring call to build upon the legacy left by the brave men, women, boys, and girls--black, white, young, or old--profiled here. As Julian Bond says in the introduction, "Wherever people face difficult problems--in their neighborhoods or across the nation--they can look at what happened in the southern United States three decades ago and promise that they too will overcome." Free at Last is both a tribute and a lesson well remembered.