Cover image for To the mountaintop! : my journey through the civil rights movement
To the mountaintop! : my journey through the civil rights movement
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Roaring Brook Press, c2012.
Physical Description:
v, 198 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1240 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
Starting with the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009 and working back to the early 1960s, Hunter-Gault covers many of the significant moments in the civil rights movement, including her own pivotal role in desegregating the University of Georgia


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 070.92 HUN 1 1
Book J 070.92 HUN 1 1
Book TEEN 070.92 HUN 1 1

On Order



A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the Universityof Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s.
With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times , and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.

Author Notes

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a journalist and foreign correspondent for NPR. In 1961, she was one of two black students to desegregate the University of Georgia. She later went on to win two Emmy awards and a Peabody award for her work with PBS's The NewsHour . She currently divides her time between South Africa and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-As one of two students who, on January 9, 1961, integrated the University of Georgia, the author comes across as a prescient young woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to brave life-threatening situations to get it. Alternating between her personal experiences in getting an education-a struggle from elementary school on-and the broader history of the movement, she offers a clear perspective on the Civil Rights Movement from 1959 to 1965 that is both informed and passionate. The prose is vivid and well composed, extended ably by black-and-white photographs of school integration, the Selma march, the Freedom Riders, and the March on Washington, among others. Concluding with a detailed time line running from 1787 to 2009 and with the full text of several New York Times articles covering civil-rights issues, the end matter also includes a sound bibliography, lengthy index, and quotation notes by chapter. For a slightly older audience than Ellen Levine's Freedom's Children (Putnam, 1993), this is a solid, well-written, well-researched title.-Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Emotionally engaging, eye-opening, and thoroughly accessible, this historical memoir (published in association with the New York Times) illustrates how the personal becomes political by placing the author's individual battle for equal education in the context of the larger civil rights movement. Each chapter opens with front-page Times headlines, beginning with the election of President Barack Obama. Reflecting on the long journey to that historic moment, the author starts with the overturning of the "separate but equal" doctrine in 1954. In 1959, Hunter-Gault applied to the University of Georgia, seeking to open up "the lily-white system of public higher education." Eventually admitted, she endured harassment and threats: classmates threw a brick through her window, chanting "Two, four six, eight,/ We don't want to integrate." Hunter-Gault highlights key political strategies in the struggle for equal rights (lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Riders, voter registration drives); explains philosophical differences between civil rights groups like the NAACP, SCLC, and SNCC; and emphasizes the great personal risks undertaken by individuals seeking change. A time line and several Times articles are included. Equal parts educational and inspiring. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

One of the first students to desegregate an all-white college in the South looks at six pivotal years of the civil rights movement (19601965). Veteran journalist Hunter-Gault weaves her own experience into a larger history, going beyond well-known events to discuss some precursors. Period photographs and pages from the New York Times (articles appended) illustrate the gracefully written history. Reading list, timeline, websites. Ind. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

(Nonfiction. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In a deeply personal memoir, Hunter-Gault traces the civil rights movement through her participation in it. She begins with an introduction recalling President Obama's inauguration, and then moves through the developments that paved the way for that auspicious event, one year at a time, beginning in 1959, her senior year of high school, through the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The unflinching first-person account combines the objectivity of a journalist with the sensitivity of a participant, resulting in a story that is illuminating and affecting. Each year is separated by facsimile newspaper stories and peppered with archival photographs. Extensive back matter includes a timeline of civil rights in America dating back to 1787; 10 contemporary articles, reproduced in their entirety; sources and further reading, including books, primary sources, and web resources; and quotation citations. This powerful complement to the civil rights canon draws a compelling line from the beginnings of the movement to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which opened the door to the long corridor that led to the White House in January 2009. --Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist