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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.


“With this book, the stage is set as we gain a feeling of the civil strife of Black Americans and those social forces that empowered America to maintain a class system that had been in existence since the first black indentured servants arrived in the Americas.”

-Prof. Lemuel Berry,
President, National Association of African American Studies

“Jans-Thomas’ journey through the South to participate in the commemoration of Bloody Sunday is competently revealed through her presentation of content and the work’s general approach to the extant scholarly literature.”

-Prof. Michael L. Clemons,
Old Dominion University

“The book is a genuine tribute to the Freedom Fighters who were killed on Bloody Sunday during a peaceful march of the people to demonstrate their solidarity for the right to vote. It is also a dedication to all individuals who peacefully march for racial justice and a reminder of the inalienable right to freedom for all people. The book is a statement of the paramount need to teach all generations about the historical fight for racial equality in America.”

-Prof. Carla J. Thompson,
University of West Florida

Table of Contents

Commendatory Foreword by Dr. Lemuel Berry

Chapter One: A Big House Facing South
Chapter Two: Starting the Journey
Chapter Three: The Hermitage Plantation
Chapter Four: The Huntsville Rocket
Chapter Five: The Freedom Walk
Chapter Six: The 16th Street Baptist Church
Chapter Seven: The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Chapter Eight: The South Side of Birmingham
Chapter Nine: Montgomery, Alabama
Chapter Ten: The People’s March
Chapter Eleven: A Walk in the Park
Chapter Twelve: The Parade
Chapter Thirteen: The Street of Selma
Chapter Fourteen: National Voter’s Rights Museum
Chapter Fifteen: Street Fair
Chapter Sixteen: Across the Tracks to Brown Chapel A.M.E.
Chapter Seventeen: Under the Bridge
Chapter Eighteen: The Road Back

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