Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2012 Gr 6–10—This companion to Osborne's Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery and the Civil War Through Reconstruction (Abrams, 2009) painstakingly documents a period of "widespread discrimination, cruel prejudice and daily humiliation" from the late 19th to mid-20th century. The book showcases pieces from the Library of Congress's African-American history collection, including photographs, drawings, and documents. Each page is laid out in a restrained scrapbook style with dynamic black-and-white photos and reproductions offset by jewel-toned frames. The text is elegant and understated. Drawing on personal interviews, the author provides incidents of everyday racism that young people will be able to grasp and relate to immediately. One man recalls growing up in North Carolina, where African Americans were served hot dogs through a 12-inch hole in a wall at the back of a restaurant rather than served face-to-face. One striking photograph shows a man in profile climbing steep stairs to a separate "colored" entrance to a movie theater, while another depicts a burned-out, broken-down school bus for black children. A letter from 1926 contains a one-sentence letter: "I am sorry, but no colored students are accepted at the Peabody University." Osborne's archival and storytelling talents are equally powerful. Her clear-sighted narrative does not hold back from exposing cruelty, but she never lets sorrow overwhelm it.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard H.S. Early College, Queens, NY - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2012 Tight, consistent focus, pristine organization, and eminently browsable illustrations make this middle-school offering a strong recommendation. As a follow-up companion to Osborne’s title on Reconstruction, Traveling the Freedom Road, Miles to Go concentrates on the period between the Plessy v. Ferguson decision establishing the legality of separate but equal accommodations, through the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, which found separate accommodations to be inherently unequal. After introductory discussion of the rapid upward rise of many freedmen after the Civil War, which Osborne cites as an important cause of white backlash against African Americans as Reconstruction drew to an end, she looks at the Jim Crow laws and customs that became imbedded in the South, in the North, and within federal programs and agencies. The litany of extreme segregation measures will no doubt be astonishing to many readers: separate paycheck windows in South Carolina, separate phone booths in Oklahoma, separate sections in a pet cemetery in Washington, DC. Osborne also attends to the measures of resistance and adaptation that helped African Americans retain their dignity as they struggled for their civil rights: from the black universities, mutual-aid societies, and Green Book travel guides, to the Harlem Renaissance and black nationalist movements. Complete with a timeline, bibliography with children’s books noted, thorough source notes, and an index, this will be a fine resource for children beginning research on this era. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 05/15/2012 *Starred Review* In this companion volume to Traveling the Freedom Road (2009), Osborne once again offers a handsome, highly readable overview of African American history, focusing here on both the South and the North during the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Drawing on her work as a senior editor at the Library of Congress, Osborne bolsters her gripping account with many quotes from primary sources, including interviews with those who were young during the time period covered. The history and politics are brought home by the moving personal stories, which show that separate is not equal and demonstrate how the laws—written and unwritten—resulted in widespread discrimination, cruel prejudice, and humiliation. Period photos, including public events, such as a teen lynching; magazine illustrations; and prints fill every double-page spread. After the first section on the South, the following section about the North focuses on the Great Migration, exploring not only the reasons why African Americans left but also the often chilly reception they received when they arrived. The final short section about the nation as a whole ends with the triumph of Brown v. Board of Education, which opened the way for the civil rights movement. Spacious back matter includes a time line, extensive notes, and a bibliography. A must for classroom discussion and research. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.