Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Freedom Song: Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Freedom Song: Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Marc C. Turck
Nonfiction with audio CD
For ages 10 and up
Chicago Review Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1556527739

Many of us think that the American Civil Rights movement began in the 50’s and 60’s. In actual fact, it began many years before when slaves found ways to fight back against their oppressors. They learn to read and write in secret, they ran away to northern states and into Canada, they refused to give up their hopes and dreams, and they sang songs. The songs they sang gave the slaves the strength to go on, they gave them hope, and they gave them the means to ‘talk’ about their dreams for the future.

Many years after these melodies were first sung in cotton fields and on plantations, these same songs, and other like them, were sung in churches where African Americans came together to talk about how they would fight against segregation. Songs filled the air as people marched to protest segregated buses, schools, bus stations, restaurants, and other public places. Sometimes old traditional spirituals were given new lyrics to suit the times.

This carefully researched book will help readers to see the role that music has had in the struggle for civil rights in American. Among other things, the author looks at the origins of the songs that were sung, the history of the movement, and she also tells the story of the Chicago Children’s Choir.