6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2008
Sarah's Long Walk is a very well-researched historical view of a fascinating time in Boston history. As a native of Boston, I quickly became aware of how much I DON'T know about this side of Boston history as I read the book. It was a rare treat to be educated by the history and entertained by the well-recounted stories. I highly recommend the book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Sarah's Long Walk is a well-written history of the first civil rights movement--pre-civil war--in Boston. Without the First Amendment, and without any of the Civil Rights laws that we all take for granted, free Blacks in Boston first demanded and built their own school, and then fought to integrate all public schools.
The center of the book is an--at the time--court case, in which America's first Black lawyer co-counseled with the soon to be Senator Charles Sumner (later famous for having been beaten half to death by a southern Senator on the floor of the Senate)to bring a legal challenge to segregated schools.
In what could have served as the model for the civil rights movement of the 40's -- 60's, the legal strategy meshed with a community organizing strategy. Despite arguments which largely were identical to those used by the S.Ct. in Brown over 100 years later, plaintiff lost the Boston case. However, a few years later, they won in the legislature, and Massachusetts became the first state to desegregate its public schools as a matter of law.
This struggle was truly remarkable when it is placed in historical context (as the authors do very well). This was the period when the fugitive slave law was in full swing, and every Black in Boston--free or slave--was at risk of being kidnaped and sent to slavery in the south. Dred Scott held that slaves had no legal rights. Despite this extraordinarily tenuous hold on legal citizenship, Boston's school desegregation struggle was almost exclusively lead by local Blacks. The abolitionists initially ignored, or even opposed, their demands.
A remarkable story, well told.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2014
This is such a powerful story of some of America's earliest Civil rights leaders. In a time when slavery was still legal and fugitive slaves were being hunted down, a group of courageous African Americans dared to stand for desegregation of schools. And they won the fight! You'll find yourself cheering as they pray for the impossible and it comes to pass. The authors have done an incredible job of researching little known and hard to find historical facts to present this remarkable story that proves people can make a big difference. This lays the foundation for better understanding the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that came over a century later, but was heavily influenced by this early court case. We really enjoyed reading this very well documented, entertaining, and well organized book. We look forward to reading more by these authors.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2008
So you want to be proud of Boston?
Yes there are Red Sox and Celtics and ok, John Adams, but you ain't seen nothing yet.
Read this book and tell your friends about it. Sarah herself is somewhat inconsequential...but the scences, the smells, the names, the flavors, the history...these make it an awesome read. Buy it even if you are not from Boston, but just love history and justice. Buy it for your friends.
Buy it now!!!