The Fradins continue to chronicle the brutalities and triumphs of the struggle for civil rights with this hard-hitting account of the stubborn campaign to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. Bates, journalist and head of the NAACP's local chapter, organized and led the team that supported the nine (initially ten) intrepid teenagers who braved relentless harassment, and worse, from students and mobs on up to Arkansas' now-infamous Governor Faubus. Based both on published memoirs and many interviews with eyewitnesses and relatives, the authors reconstruct Bates's career, from early years with protective foster parents (her birth father having fled after her birth mother's rape and murder probably by whites) and marriage to a newspaperman, to her role in one of the Civil Rights Movement's watershed campaigns. They also trace her later, quieter years, as well as those of the nine students. Readers will come away with a clear view of life in the segregated Deep South, a feeling for the appalling level of fear and hatred that civil rights workers faced, and a clear-eyed appreciation for the Little Rock Nine's characters and accomplishments. (notes, black-and-white news photos, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15) (Kirkus Reviews)
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