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Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC Hardcover – September 30, 2010
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James Baldwin once observed that: "The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." No book in recent memory better illustrates the essential truth of that observation than Hands on the Freedom Plow.
This is not a book that has to be read in sequence first page to last. Rather, it reminds me of the Talmud, a sea of subjects, insights, experiences, points of view, and historical periods that you sail on voyages of discovery. Each time you dip into it, in whatever chapter, it reveals something new and fascinating.
This well-organized book shares the personal narratives of 52 women - northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white and Latina - who served on the front lines of freedom. The narratives are grouped by regional movements, and also by themes such as issues of personal identity.
There are similarities found in some of the narratives; many relate terrifying encounters with the Klan and the public authorities who were supposed to protect them, beatings and deprivations in jail, but also love and overwhelming support from local people who lifted them up, fed them, and sheltered them to the best of their ability in the Jim Crow south.
One recurring theme that touched me deeply was how many of these women were just girls, often the first in their family to attend college, terrified not only of being murdered in the Deep South but equally terrified about disappointing their parents by postponing (or sometimes being expelled from) college. Some recount having broken bonds with family which were never mended.
But beyond these similarities each woman's story is related through a very personal lens.Read more ›
Hands on the Freedom Plow is written not by reporters or historians but by women active in the Civil Rights Movement. These women, many in their late teens and early twenties, took great personal risks to work to change this way of life. In doing so they helped change our country's history.
The book is an insider's view of the challenges the women faced in their efforts to bring change - and the ways the Movement changed their lives. The writing is beautifully clear.
I was a woman in SNCC and a part of this. I was in the jail cell with Cathy, Penny and Faith in Albany, GA in the summer of 1963. I was in Mississippi for the mock election in the fall of 1963 and there for Freedom Summer in 1964. I stayed until February 1965.
I thank my sisters-in-struggle for writing their stories. I found this book deeply moving and feel fortunate that we have it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a history of the civil rights movement written by women who were organizers in the deep south. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Margaret Herring
Many stories from women who were involved in the fight to be allowed to vote in the south when whites did everything they could to prevent blacks from registering to vote.Published 24 months ago by Eileen McCallister
Women have been fighting right alongside of men this whole time.. it's great to get these interviews and read in their own words what was being done, how their parents felt, how... Read morePublished on April 24, 2014 by Trezrun Lawrence
It was powerful to read about both black and white women during the civil rights movement. Ordinary people being extremely brave. Read morePublished on March 14, 2014 by Sally Benbasset
It's so refreshing to hear the lived experiences told by women themselves! I am using this textbook as a supplemental resource for a class emphasizing race, class, and gender... Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Professor C. Bragg
very good easy to read nice informative..
a pleasure to read great for a college student
requirement for school well worth it.
The book clarifies the signicant role that women played in the Civil Rights movement. This main stream media and history books have ignored the role of women in the movement for... Read morePublished on September 23, 2013 by Thomas L. Clark
No problems to report. . In better condition that I had thought it would be. Satisfied with this purchase. Would recommend to anyone.Published on October 11, 2012 by amazon