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Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights Paperback – December 30, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Martin Luther King was a major influence on Patricia Stephens Due, she knows that the civil rights movement was spurred on by average citizens like her throughout the South in the 1960s, and she sets out in this memoir to write her story as well as the stories of her fellow grassroots activists. Her tale is interwoven with that of her daughter, Tananarive, who won an American Book Award this year for her novel The Living Blood. Patricia's narrative takes the reader through protests at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter in Florida and numerous arrests that garnered national attention, leading to a correspondence with King as well as baseball hero and activist Jackie Robinson. But Particia's activism did not end with the movement; one of the memoir's most powerful anecdotes, written by Tananarive, recounts a showdown years later between Patricia and an intimidating cluster of police officers who arrived at the family home in Miami in a misguided, racially motivated hunt for thieves. Also tracking the achievements of lawyer John Due, Patricia's husband and Tananarive's father, mother and daughter write (in alternating chapters) with an energy that is cathartic in its recounting of past obstacles, and optimistic in its hopes for the future. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Novelist Tananarive is noted for works like The Black Rose; her mother, Patricia, was a civil rights activist with CORE. In alternate chapters, they detail their struggles against racial discrimination, name calling, and worse while paying a moving tribute to the Civil Rights Movement and its foot soldiers.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; Reprint edition (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345447344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345447340
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Brown Girl VINE VOICE on February 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Freedom in the Family by mother-daughter authors, Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due, is an account of their family's involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Told in alternating chapters, the book recounts the contributions of their family, friends and supporters in an autobiographical format. Patricia Due carefully shares her personal family history as foundation for her motivation and attraction toward the principles of racial equality. She drew courage and strength from the examples her parents provided in daily life. She covers the fear, anxiety, blood, sweat, and tears that resulted from numerous sit-in's, freedom rides, marches, and rallies in such detail that I felt I had witnessed them myself. She shares her pain and dedication in heartfelt passages such as the loss of a baby during a voter registration project. Tananarive's viewpoint is that of a daughter living in the post-Civil Rights era. Her story recaps the difficulty of growing up in largely white neighborhoods and schools and of being ostracized by both blacks for being "too white" and whites for being "too black". The details of her struggle and childhood observations of her parent's lives are equally compelling as her mother's.
This novel is a wonderful history lesson that includes details that uncover the fortitude and determination of many unsung heroes. The personal sacrifices (suspension/expulsion from college, permanent physical injury, and death) of "everyday people" for the sake of justice are truly admirable and honorable.
For this reviewer, this book was particularly touching because Patricia goes into great detail about the forming of CORE and other noteworthy events happening at FAMU during the same era when my parents, aunts, and uncles attended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By desmoinesmusiclover on April 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The workers opened the passenger-side door and carried out a very elderly Negro woman, who told us she was 109 years old. 'I was born a slave,' she announced. 'It's 'bout time I registered to vote.' ... (T)here were other people in Chattahoochee who wanted to register, including her ninety-year-old daughter, but they were afraid. 'They say if I come back alive, they'll come register too,' she said."
I first came across Tananarive Due in a work I have previously reviewed: "Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora," by Sheree R. Thomas. Having read Due's novels to date, I periodically check the library catalog for anything new, not expecting to find a non-fiction entry. I had no real idea of her biography or her background; I just knew I had found an author I like, who is definitely worthy of more attention than she has yet received.
This work, written in collaboration with her mother, Patricia Stephens Due, is excellent - start to finish. As the parent of several children in the public schools of lily-white Iowa, I see the yearly, compulsory, half-hearted "diversity studies." What this has come to mean is that every September, Martin Luther King, Jr. is beatified; every October, Christopher Columbus is reviled; every January, King is nominated for sainthood; and every February they do Black History Month, at which time it becomes okay to mention Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman. At the end of it all, you can ask any student, black or white, about Ralph Abernathy, Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers, the SCLC generally, or CORE and all you will get is blank stares. They will have no idea who Bull Connor was and may have only a vague sense of recognition at the name of George Wallace. Tallahassee and St. Augustine: blank stares.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on December 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mother and daughter Patricia Stephens Due and Tananarive Due have written a fascinating and revealing look at the struggle by African-Americans to gain equal rights. The elder Due tells of her involvement with the "movement" during the turbulent 60's. She introduces the readers to the many sit-ins, jail-ins, planning conferences, and brushes with the famous and not so famous. It is those "unknown" heroes that are the revelation here. Being a neighbor to nearby Tallahassee, FL (where much of the book's events occur), my eyes were opened to the significance of developments in that city to changes that would be made nationwide. Mrs. Due writes candidly and details her convictions, as well as the dedication of her fellow "marchers/protestors". Her contributions as an author and activist are commendable and necessary reading for those interested in the period.
Tananarive Due shares her upbringing in a house headed by such politically minded and socially active parents. By writing about her college days and beyond, she reminds us that things have not changed as much as they should since her mother and others trod the streets of Tallahassee. She cites the Miami riots of the 80's (the result of the senseless murder of a black motorcyclist), as well as other highly profiled instances of human abuses.
The book is an essential read, if only to appreciate the people that sacrificed so much to make this country accept its creed of being "one nation for all".
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By radrich on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After hearing about the book on CBC radio I had to get the book. I thought it was a good read and makes you remember the hardship of those that where the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. Makes me think that nowadays that the movement was so trivialized and explained like it was a walk trough the park. In talking about the civil rights one would think that the south was the only place that jim crow laws took place. The thought that Florida was this sunshine beautiful place that everyone got along. No that is not truth and the book hits on the racial barriers that where just as rough as in other places in the deep south. What I do find interesting is that they speak of the many whites that supported the movement and sided with blacks throughout the movement. That is something that is not talked about enough.. what i think was missing was talk of how the family felt after MLK was killed. Also the the lack of talk about the late 60's and the black power movement. The nation of islam was mentioned but not talked about also. So the only criticism was more about the late 60's and early 70's. All and all I think people should pick up this book.
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