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Diane McWhorter with A Dream of Freedom : The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 (A Bridge Builder Event)

April 25, 2018

Diane McWhorter, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and was educated at Wellesley College, is a long-time contributor to The New York Times and writes for the Op-Ed page of USA Today. Her articles about race, politics, and culture have also appeared in Harpers, The Nation, The New Republic, Newsday, People, Talk, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other publications. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her first book, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

About A Dream of Freedom : The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 

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.

This clear-eyed account of the civil-rights movement’s most vicious years should be required reading for anyone who thinks that it all began and ended with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Using her own privileged Birmingham childhood as a springboard, Pulitzer-winner McWhorter sketches in the realities of post-Reconstruction racism in North and South alike, along with the conflicting responses to it embodied by Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Then she chronicles horrors and heroism from the violent reactions to Brown v. Board of Education to the chaotic close of the “Poor People’s Campaign.” But along with detailing the proud accomplishments of the movement’s iconic figures, she also points up King’s messiah complex and Jesse Jackson’s early reputation as an opportunist. She profiles lesser known activists and looks behind the movement’s seeming solidarity to its internal dissensions and politics. Illustrated with many of the era’s most telling news photos, and enhanced by follow-ups, side portraits, and a manageable, multimedia resource list, this passionate study will take readers a long way toward understanding the enduring, personal meaning that the struggle for racial equality has for everyone. (Nonfiction. 10-15)


April 25, 2018
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Washington, DC