Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970

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Simon and Schuster, 2001 - African American women civil rights workers - 460 pages
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The first comprehensive history of the role of women in the civil rights movement, Freedom's Daughters fills a startling gap in both the literature of civil rights and of women's history. Stokely Carmichael, Andrew Young, John Lewis, and other well-known leaders of the civil rights movement have admitted that women often had the ideas for which men took credit. In this groundbreaking book, credit finally goes where credit is due -- to the bold women who were crucial to the movement's success and who refused to give up the fight. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the lunch counter sit-ins to the Freedom Rides, Lynne Olson's Freedom's Daughters offers a remarkable corrective to the standard history as she tells the long overlooked story of the extraordinary women, both black and white, who were among the most fearless, resourceful, and tenacious leaders of the civil rights movement. Reminding us that the story of women fighting for civil rights began much earlier than the 1950s and 1960s, Olson puts the formal civil rights movement into the context of a much larger history of women's activism. From the abolitionist and suffragist movements to women's liberation, Olson proves that the political activity of women has been the thread connecting the big reform movements from the 1830s to 1970. Into this context, then, she introduces portraits and cameos of more than sixty women -- many until now forgotten and some never before written about -- from the key figures (Pauli Murray, Ida Wells, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Baker, and Septima Clark, among others) whose activism spanned several different movements and decades to some of the smaller players who represent the hundredsand hundreds of women who each came forth to do her own small part and who together ultimately formed the mass movements that made the difference. As one male activist said of the movement in Mississippi: It was a woman's war. This is the story of women making difficult choices, trying to balance lives as wives and mothers with their all-consuming work, defying society's standards of proper female behavior. It's the story of indomitable black women like Diane Nash who refused to give up the civil rights fight, even as the formal movement collapsed, and of white female civil rights activists mourning the loss of their old movement while helping to launch a new one -- the battle for women's rights. Freedom's Daughters puts a human face on the civil rights struggle -- and shows that that face was often female.

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FREEDOM'S DAUGHTERS: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970

User Review  - Kirkus

A celebration of largely forgotten players in the African-American struggle for civil rights.Freelance journalist Olson, coauthor of The Murrow Boys (1996), profiles a score or so of the women who ... Read full review

Freedom's daughters: the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement from 1830 to 1970

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Several books have highlighted women's contributions to the Civil Rights movement, but none is as well written and extensive as this work by journalist and author Olson (The Murrow Boys). Its ... Read full review


Far More Terrible for Women
She Has Shaken This Country
Getting Them Comfortable with Rebellion
Lighting the Fuse 15
There Had to Be a Stopping Place
Our Leaders Is Just We Ourself 11 o 7 She Kept Daring Us to Go Further
The Most Daring of Our Leaders
A Woman s War
We Assumed We Were Equal
We Cant Deal with Her
Standing in the Minefield
We Didnt Come All This Wayfor No Two Seats
This Inevitable Horrible Greek Tragedy
The Woman Question
We Were Asked to Deny a Part of Ourselves

Being White Does Not Answer Tour Problems
She Never Listened to a Word
We Are Not Going to Take This Anymore
The Cobwebs A re Moving from My Brain
I Had Never Heard That Voice Before
Black and White Together
We Got to Keep Moving
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About the author (2001)

Writer Lynne Olson graduated from the University of Arizona and began her career with the Associated Press in 1971. She was its first woman correspondent in Moscow from 1974 to 1976. She also worked as a reporter on national politics for the Baltimore Sun before becoming a freelance writer in 1981. Olson has contributed to publications including the Washington Post, American Heritage, Smithsonian, Working Woman, Ms., Elle, and Glamour. She taught journalism at American University in Washington for five years and has published several books of history.

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