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Editorial Review

A noteworthy review of Journey to Freedom: The African American Library from Library Media Connection on March 1, 2004

Sixteen years after his death, James Baldwin remains one of America’s literary giants and is remembered as a crusader whose legacy of words brought a peaceful change in the Civil Rights Movement. This slender volume traces significant milestones in Baldwin’s life: his troubled childhood, his expatriation to France and subsequent return to the United States to crusade for social justice for African Americans, and his final years in France. Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin sought refuge in books. He quickly discovered that he wanted to be a writer. Despair of the prejudice against African Americans and homosexuals drove him to Paris where he felt accepted. His works established him as a major American author, and crusader for truth about the African-American experience in the United States. Feeling obligated to fight against racial injustice, he returned to the United States. Attractively formatted with a plethora of large b&w and sepia photos, the book catches students’ eyes; its short length appeals to nonreaders. A personal timeline, glossary, list of suggested books and Web sites, and index are included. This title will serve biography and Black history units for intermediate grades. Librarians should note that Baldwin’s homosexuality is frankly discussed.

—Tena Natale Litherland

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