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Civil Rights Movement: Desegregation Books

Daisy Bates, The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir ()

In her memoir, Daisy Bates reveals the story behind the events that took place in Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957. She recounts her own personal struggles as a young black woman growing up in the South, and her path to becoming one of the leading figures in the moral, physical, and legal battle for school desegregation.

Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988)

In this Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicle of the Civil Rights Movement, historian Taylor Branch offers an extraordinarily detailed account of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the political, social, and cultural environment within which he worked.

John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (1994)

Historian John Dittmer narrates the stories of the lesser-known, regular people who provided structure, spirit, and strength for the movement. These working folk sheltered SNCC activists, staged boycotts of local white merchants, waited hour upon hour to register to vote, distributed food when federal programs failed to provide relief for the poor, and braved verbal and physical violence upon attempting to integrate movie theaters, parks, and swimming pools.

Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents (1998)

Historian Waldo E. Martin, Jr. provides a succinct account of the origins and the legal details of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision illustrated by a variety of primary source documents, including political cartoons, editorials from national and local publications, and a White Citizens' Council handbill imploring whites to boycott Negro records.

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)

In this intimately personal autobiography, Anne Moody describes life as a young black girl growing up in the rural South. She offers vivid descriptions of a turbulent childhood, trials with discrimination, bigotry, and heartache, and memories of her participation in the fight against segregation.

Studs Terkel, Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession (1992)

In Race, Studs Terkel interviews several dozen people from every walk of life—a police officer, a preacher, a nurse, a welfare recipient, a college student, a high school teacher, a housepainter, a civil rights worker, and a Ku Klux Klansman, to list a few. His subjects speak candidly about their perceptions of black-white relations in America and the ways in which they feel these issues have affected their lives. Race is just one of the many oral narrative collections that Terkel has produced in an effort to reveal the complexity of the American experience.

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