Jans-Thomas, Susan Books

Dr. Susie Jans-Thomas holds a Ph.D from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is now an Associate Professor at the University of West Florida’s Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Diversity Studies in Pensacola, Florida.

Reflections of the 1965 Freedom March From Selma to Montgomery, Alabama: A Memoir of the United States Civil Rights Movement
2012 0-7734-2653-1
Dr. Jans-Thomas revisits an important location in the Civil Rights movement and walks through various places along the march from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama. Her stories are largely anecdotal, but the overall portrait she paints of the towns are vivid because she outlines how the culture has changed since the 1950’s and 60’s. The portrayal of the towns is suitable, not only for introductory college students, but advanced high school students as well. The book reads like a historical narrative and a sociological field study, and its importance derives from the juxtaposition of past struggles mixed with signs of the contemporary triumphs that the Civil Rights movement achieved. Collectively, we all participate in history. The purpose of this study is to show that agents of change have an important role to play in shaping the future of the communities they impact.

Through a field study told as an anecdotal personal narrative The Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama: Historical Reflections on Race Relations in the United Statestells the story of how race relations in America have progressed since the 1950’s and 60’s. Dr. Jans-Thomas travels through several towns in Alabama on her way to the 40th Anniversary Commemoration of Bloody Sunday, where many activists lost their lives marching in favor of voting rights for African-Americans. She describes in detail the social implications of historical events that transpired during the American Civil Rights movement. The events had a tremendous impact on the southern communities, and in the book she shows that there is a broader representation of African-Americans there at the current time, which would have been impossible without the sacrifice of these brave Freedom Fighters.