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Readings on Civil Rights in America

Civil Rights in America- the 2014 theme for National Black History Month inspires reflection upon our nation’s social efforts to end racial segregation. The peak of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 60’s is known partly for its nonviolent protests which took place across the nation including Columbia, South Carolina. On March 2, 1961 African American students marched from Zion Baptist Church to the South Carolina State House to express their grievances concerning the Civil Rights of African Americans. During the event, 187 students were arrested. In 1963 The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the students’ convictions in the case Edwards v. South Carolina. To learn more about Civil Rights in America and Columbia’s role in the movement check out some of the books listed below. For recommendations on where to begin your online research, see the Related Resources and Websites list.


Amazon Says: * Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction* Nominated for a 2013 Edgar Award * Book of the Year (Non-fiction, 2012) The Boston Globe, Chri more...
Amazon Says: * Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction* Nominated for a 2013 Edgar Award * Book of the Year (Non-fiction, 2012) The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as "the Groveland Boys." And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as "Mr. Civil Rights," and the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the "Florida Terror" at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight--not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next. Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI's unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as "one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice. less...
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Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph
Amazon Says: In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s pe more...
Amazon Says: In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring.Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter.He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.In raw, powerful prose, Jamal Joseph helps us understand what it meant to be a soldier inside the militant Black Panther movement. He recounts a harrowing, sometimes deadly imprisonment as he charts his path to manhood in a book filled with equal parts rage, despair, and hope. less...
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Amazon Says: 2014 NAACP Image Award Winner: Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Auto Biography 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians  C more...
Amazon Says: 2014 NAACP Image Award Winner: Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Auto Biography 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians  Choice Top 25 Academic Titles for 2013 The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movementPresenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks’s politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought—for more than a half a century—to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice. less...
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