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This is one of the most remarkable books I've read this past year. It is actually two books in one. Interspersed within the storyline are primary source documents...songs, speeches, letters, news accounts, interviews, etc. The two parallel narratives are about the years 1964-65 in Greenwood, Mississippi, known as Freedom Summer. It's not a pretty story, reminding us of the racism, violence, hatred and fear of those days. It's about the work of COFO, and SNCC particularly, along with NAACP in the state of Mississippi. The historical documents take us back to the three young men killed on the first official day of Freedom Summer, the peaceful protests punctuated with arrests, beatings, and economic reprisals of that time and place. It's about the South's refusal to honor laws such as Brown vs. Board of Education. It's about the repression of voting rights, a concern that's back in the news today. The fictional story follows two white youngsters, stepsiblings, trying to make sense of the times. Their story is intertwined with that of a "colored" boy also trying to navigate the trying times.
At this time in our country when racism, voter repression, fear tactics, and other issues seem back in vogue for far too many people in too many places, this book is a reminder to the rest of us that we need to be brave and speak out. And that is something I am going to do, even at the risk of offending some "friends."
It is billed for teen readers, but I can attest to its impact upon an adult who lived through the '60s. I enjoyed a double dose because I had the good fortune to have access to both the print copy and the audiobook. I strongly recommend the audio, and if you can get your hands on it at a library, get the print and audio both. Also, I believe this book should be held in both formats in any library that serves teen readers. If I could give it an award I would.
PS I have not read the first book in Wiles' 60's Trilogy, this being the second. I will snag it ASAP. If you remember the '60s you might want to do the same.
Today, we celebrate. Whatever the outcome, we voted or had the right to vote. I got an I Voted sticker in Vietnamese. My son, who is 7, came with me to the polls and argued every issue with me in the car on the way there.
Here is a list of wonderful Romance Novels featuring issues of suffrage.
Do you have any favorite Suffragettes? Let me know! To vote for the best Romance Featuring Women's Voting Rights and get more recs, go to my Goodreads list: Suffrage in Romance Novels.
Thank you to all the women and men around the world who died, starved, and marched, for my right to vote. Women and men who were beaten, arrested, imprisoned. Women and men who argued with family, spent time away from their childern. and fought for decades so that I could rush home from work to have my say.
Here are some Suffrage Fighters to remember. If you would like to see more check out my Pinterest Board: Women's Right in Romance.
Emily Wilding Davison (11 October 1872 – 8 June 1913) was a militant activist who fought for women's suffrage in Britain. She was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times. She is best known for stepping in front of King George V's horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later.
Alice Paul was the leader of the most militant wing of the woman-suffrage movement. Born in 1885 to a wealthy Quaker family in New Jersey, Paul was well-educated–she earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Swarthmore College and a PhD in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania–and determined to win the vote by any means necessary. She was placed in solitary confinement and engaged in a hunger strike.
The suffragette Lilian Hickling just released from Holloway prison having endured hunger strike. 1913
Laurence Housman was an English playwright, writer and illustrator. He was a committed socialist and pacifist and founded the Men's League for Women's suffrage with Henry Nevinson and Henry Brailsford in 1907. In 1909, Laurence, with his sister Clemence founded the Suffrage Atelier, an arts and crafts society who worked closely with the Women's Social and Political Unionand Women's Freedom League.
Meri Te Tai Mangakahia (22 May 1868 – 10 October 1920) was a campaigner for women's suffrage in New Zealand. angakahia was the wife of Hamiora Mangakahia, who, in 1892, was elected Premier of the Kotahitanga Parliament in Hawke's Bay. The following year, Meri Mangakahia addressed the assembly (the first woman to do so), submitting a motion in favour of women being allowed to vote for, and stand as, members of the Parliament. She noted that Māori women were landowners, and should not be barred from political representation.
Mary Jane Clarke (1862–1910), was a British suffragette.She was an organizer in the Women's Social and Political Union. In 1909, she led a group to Downing Street, and was arrested. In 1909, she spoke in Yorkshire. In 1909, she was organizing in Brighton. She ran the WPSU campaign, in the United Kingdom general election, January 1910. After Black Friday (1910), 18 November 1910, she was arrested for window smashing, 23 November 1910, and held in HM Prison Holloway and force-fed. She was released on 23 December 1910.  She died 26 December, 1910, inWinchmore Hill, London.
Carrie Chapman Catt (January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947) was anAmerican women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920.