Freedom Summer 1964: Turning Point for Voting Rights

Capstone. Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $31.32. ISBN 9781669062097.
Gr 4-6–This title, published in time for the 60th anniversary of the momentous Freedom Summer and the signing of the Civil Rights Act, places the campaign for voting rights within the greater context of the Civil Rights Movement and highlights lesser-known figures in the struggle for justice. Using clear and concise language, Nnachi presents the status of racial inequity in the mid-20th century, particularly the lack of access to vote in the deep south. She explains how civil rights leader Robert Moses developed the idea to send (largely white, young) Northerners as volunteers to Mississippi in hopes that they would speak up and generate press and publicity about the cause. Readers are introduced to notable figures such as Fannie Lou Hamer, as well as less familiar Flonzie Brown Wright. Young people are also encouraged to speak out and examine injustices in their own lives through text boxes labeled, “Take action!” and “Think more about it!” Nnachi does not shy from naming the violent tactics employed by racist opposition, including the murders of activists. A final chapter draws connections between the struggles of the 1960s and voter repression today, reminding readers that there is still work to be done. The format is standard for an informational text, with text boxes, chapter headings, and photographs interspersed throughout. An engaging and modern palette of red, yellow, green, and orange elevates the layout. Back matter includes a time line, glossary, additional reading and index.
VERDICT A compelling and meaningful account of the Freedom Summer movement, relevant to today’s readers. Recommended for libraries serving middle school students.

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