Blood BrotherFall 2016 Non-Fiction
This inspiring story of one of the first white "freedom fighters" during the historic summer of 1965 chronicles the challenges and dramatic dangers Jonathan Daniels faced in those bloody-racist days in Selma, Alabama.
Relevant to today's racial turmoil, where protestors and police once again are violently facing off over real and perceived injustices, Blood Brother is a heart-tugging tale of a young New Hampshire activist and seminary student who decided to stand up against what's wrong and unjust. Daniels traveled south to help register black voters, and ended up staying to work in the Civil Rights movement. Five months later, he saved a black teenager's life - and lost his own in pursuit of truth, equality and humanity.
With an archive of photos displayed with almost every page turn, this large-format book uses big-font text, a simple straight-forward narrative, and design elements such as time-and-place sequencing and dramatic pull-quotes, to highlight what's significant, dramatic and most important for younger readers. The authors did their homework. That's evident from their thoroughly researched storytelling that draws from Daniels' intimate notes, insightful interviews and primary sources and documents that not only bring to life their biographic subject but also reveal the rampant and deadly racism, and the daily and violent injustices of that era's Deep South.
And this story covers a lifetime, from Daniel's rebellious childhood, to his formative years in high school and negative experience at Virginia Military Institute, to the impact on him of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to his joining the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement. It follows the story after Daniels' murder to the unjust trial in Lowndes County, Alabama, to the authors' perspective on the long-range impact of the work and self-sacrifice of '60s civil rights workers such as Jonathan Daniels, and a chapter about how they themselves were pulled into this remarkable story.
While the book details some shocking, violent and sad events, any reader, and certainly younger readers, will find this biography to be a passionately told and compelling read that sheds light on a heroic individual and tragic events then and now.