Cover image for Traveling the freedom road : from slavery & the Civil War through Reconstruction
Traveling the freedom road : from slavery & the Civil War through Reconstruction
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, c2009.
Physical Description:
128 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 27 cm.
Slavery -- The Civil War -- Reconstruction.
Reading Level:
1120 L Lexile
Added Corporate Author:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 973.7 OSB 1 1
Book J 973.7 OSB 1 1
Book J 973.7 OSB 1 1

On Order



In association with the Library of Congress.

From the perspective of those who lived through a time of pain, strife, and hope comes a powerful message for Black History Month and all year long.
Told through unforgettable first-person accounts from slave narratives, journals, diaries, and other sources--much of it never before published for young people--this book is an overview of the antebellum South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1800 to 1877. The perspectives of children and adults who lived through this time and witnessed its significant events are provided alongside photographs, engravings, news clippings, and other archival material held in the collections of the Library of Congress, and offer a poignant message for readers. A bibliography and an index round out the many offerings of this important addition to black history books for young readers.

F&P level: W
F&P genre: I

Author Notes

Linda Barrett Osborne is the author of several books for children and on African American history. She is a senior writer and editor in the Library of Congress's Publishing Office. The library's vast resources include the most comprehensive collection of images and manuscripts in the world from this period.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Gr 6 Up-The past is brought to life through this exceptional work, replete with fascinating stories, fluid and expressive writing, wrenching personal accounts, and stirring visuals from the Library of Congress collection. The highly readable text documents the journey of a country built on the precept of freedom yet divided by the immorality of slavery. Diaries and interviews turn the facts of slavery into a living, breathing account of painful family separations, the lash of the whip, and the desperation to escape at any cost. The letters and personal essays of children, escaped slaves, abolitionists, and black soldiers, as well as others, lend authenticity to the brave words spoken and deeds accomplished so long ago. News accounts of slave auctions and antislavery almanacs signify the reality of the times. The Black Codes, the Fugitive Slave Law, as well as other legislation, court cases, and amendments are clearly explained, not just for their legal importance but also within the context of the effects they had on those who were enslaved. The inspired text is enhanced by the accompanying high-quality photographs, prints, and drawings. A must-have for all collections.-Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Primary source quotes and stories provide the backbone of this compelling examination of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction from the perspectives of young African Americans. Osborne addresses common misconceptions and assumptions from past and present interpretations of the eras. Accompanying photos, illustrations, maps, and reproductions enhance the narrative. Timeline. Bib., ind. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Published in association with the Library of Congress, this lavish volume attempts to provide a history of America's peculiar institution from the late colonial days through Reconstruction, using materials from the Library's collections to evoke the experiences of enslaved Americans. There's an astonishing compression at work here, as Osborne moves from explanations of the political zeitgeist and legal machinations that made slavery possible to the words of those affected, taken from contemporary slave narratives and the Depression-era transcripts of the Federal Writers' Project. That no one aspect of the experience can be dealt with at length means that this is of necessity an overviewnot an introduction, as the language, particularly that of the primary source materials, is too complex for that. It makes a good foundation for the many fine works that explore more thoroughly subtopics such as the Underground Railroad or plantation life. The handsome design that incorporates a bounty of archival visuals into the presentation is this book's greatest strength; the captions tie these images neatly to the overall narrative. (timeline, notes, bibliography, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Published in association with the Library of Congress, where Osborne is a senior writer and editor, this fascinating, well-designed volume offers an essential introduction to the experiences of African Americans between 1800 and 1877. Osborne further narrows her topic by focusing on the lives of young people, beginning with the story of teenage sisters who escaped slavery in Washington, D.C., endured recapture, and, after winning their freedom, went on to become active abolitionists. Throughout, Osborne moves from similar, personal stories to broader historical milestones, and in highly accessible language, she provides basic background even as she challenges readers with philosophical questions: Why did the Constitution, the basic rules that govern the United States, allow slavery in the first place? This fluid exchange between political events and intimate, human stories creates a highly absorbing whole that is made even stronger by the many young peoples' first-person recollections of the time period, culled from primary source materials. These voices create a sense of immediacy that's echoed in the exceptional selection of well-reproduced visuals, including photographs, magazine illustrations, and etchings. A concise time line, source notes, and a bibliography close the chapters. This unique, powerful, and clear overview contains valuable insights for readers of all ages and backgrounds.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2009 Booklist