During the past few years we’ve seen a boom in books on the Civil Rights Movement.
Here are just a few of our recent favorites (plus one DVD). Click on the link to place a hold on the title.
Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales (2013)
by James Karales
Photojournalist James Karales (1930–2002) documented the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965. This beautiful new book presents many of his images from the era, including some published for the first time ever.
The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013)
by Taylor Branch
With his latest book, Pulitzer-winner Branch has selected eighteen pivotal moments from the civil rights movement and combined them with historical context to present one succinct overview.
March: Book One (2013)
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
This New York Times bestseller is the first part in a three-part graphic memoir about U.S. Congressman and key civil rights figure John Lewis. USA Today, The Washington Post, Paste, Slate, and ComicsAlliance have all named it a best book of the year. Eisner-winning artist Nate Powell illustrates Lewis’s life story, including his first fateful meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The March: The Story of the Greatest March in American History (2013)
PBS/Smoking Dog Films
This hour-long documentary recounts the backstory of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. More than 250,000 people came together for the historic event. Organizers and participants are interviewed here.
Miles To Go for Freedom (2012)
by Linda Barrett Osborne
Osborne draws widely from primary source materials housed in the archives of the NAACP, Veterans History Project and www.visionaryproject.org to create a survey of everyday Americans’ experience with segregation and discrimination during the Jim Crow years (1890s-1954) and early civil rights movement.
Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation (2011)
by Clarence B. Jones
Jones, a close friend and collaborator of King, helped him to write his beloved “I Have A Dream” speech. Here he recounts the weeks leading up to that day in August 1963, as they hashed out the ideas that would shape the civil rights movement for years to come.
Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the State-run Spy Network that tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement (2010)
by Rick Bowers
Just as the civil rights community geared up for the Freedom Summer of 1964, a secret network run by the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission prepared to fight back by infiltrating the movement with its spies. Bowers uses interviews and previously-sealed records to bring this story to light.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (2010)
by Isabel Wilkerson
This best seller won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, USA Today, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Economist, Boston Globe, Newsday, and Salon.
Pulitzer-winner Wilkerson interweaves the stories of three young people who were among the six million African-Americans who left the South for the North and West. She interviewed 1,200 people in order to capture the grand scale of one of the largest migrations in American history.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009)
by Phillip Hoose
You’re familiar with Rosa Parks, but what about Claudette Colvin? The Alabama teenager refused to give up her bus seat on March 2, 1955; nine months earlier than Parks. A year later she testified as a plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that struck down Montgomery’s segregation laws. Hoose convinced her to share her story, and won a National Book Award for this account.
Marching for Freedom (2009)
by Elizabeth Partridge
Partridge employs stunning documentary photographs (including some by James Karales) to tell the story of the landmark voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Children as young as 8 years old joined in, facing jail time and violence.
Written especially for young people, this book received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.
Thanks to fellow librarian Neil O’Shea for helping to compile this list!