Chosen as a 2020 Pulpwood Queens Book Club pick
2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction (Multicultural)
Book Release Date: November 12, 2019
About The Book:
Told alternately, by Colleen, an idealistic young white teacher; Frank, a black high school football player; and Evelyn, an experienced black teacher, Freedom Lessons is the story of how the lives of these three very different people intersect in a rural Louisiana town in 1969.
Colleen enters into the culture of the rural Louisiana town with little knowledge of the customs and practices. She is compelled to take sides after the school is integrated—an overnight event for which the town’s residents are unprepared, and which leads to confusion and anxiety in the community—and her values are tested as she seeks to understand her black colleagues, particularly Evelyn. Why doesn’t she want to integrate the public schools? Frank, meanwhile, is determined to protect his mother and siblings after his father’s suspicious death—which means keeping a secret from everyone around him.
Based on the author’s experience teaching in Louisiana in the late sixties, this heartfelt, unflinching novel about the unexpected effects of school integration during that time takes on the issues our nation currently faces regarding race, unity, and identity.
Colleen is a white teacher which has moved into Louisiana. She is teaching at the “black” school. Colleen has a room full of good students but not a lot of good supplies or equipment. But, she learns how to make things work. However, one day everything changes. The school board is closing her school as of today. Everyone is being incorporated into the “white”school. This changes the lives of so many children. And their safety is no longer guaranteed.
Growing up in the Deep South, I can see all of this happening. So much of this was very ingrained into the culture. This book nailed so many things and brought to the forefront exactly what transpired and the wrongness of the situation. I felt so upset for the children. The unfairness tore me up!
It’s amazing how life has changed…and how it has stayed the same. The people who went before us really made their mark. This book highlights the horror some of the children and the teachers were put through for “so called” equality! I highly recommend this read just so people do not forget…it was not easy! And it is still a struggle every day!
Need a dang good read…this is it! Grab your copy today!
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
About The Author:
Eileen Harrison Sanchez is now retired after a forty-year career in education. She started as a teacher and ended as a district administrator. She has been writing part time for seven years with a writers group in Summit, NJ (www.writerscircleworkshops.com). Eileen is a member of the Historical Writers of America, Historical Novel Society, Philadelphia Stories Writers Community, Goodreads American Historical Novels Group, and several online writers groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. A reader, a writer, and a perennial—a person with a no-age mindset—she considers family and friends to be the most important parts of her life, followed by traveling and bird watching from her gazebo. Learn more at www.eileensanchez.com
When ‘all deliberate speed’ becomes ‘all of a sudden,’ not much changes. An intermittently potent illustration of the formidable obstacles to equality that remained―and persist―post-Brown v. Board of Education.”―Kirkus Reviews
“This powerful tale offers a beacon of hope that individuals can inspire change.”―Library Journal
“ . . . a deftly crafted novel that, although a work of fiction, is based on the author Eileen Sanchez’ personal experience teaching in Louisiana in the late sixties. Freedom Lessons is heartfelt, unflinching novel, and inherently riveting novel about the unexpected effects of school integration during that time takes on the issues our nation continues to face regarding race, unity, and identity.”―Midwest Book Review
“Freedom Lessons is a captivating and well-written story. Reading this book has changed me personally and professionally. The Deep South no doubt plays its role―the further you read in the story, the more hot and humid it starts to feel around you. Eileen succeeds where historians and academics like myself fail―recounting major societal events through the inescapable and complex humanity of her characters. A distinguished educator herself, Eileen fully delivers on the challenge of framing what teaching and learning was during this era, and Freedom Lessons forces us to ask the question of what it should be now.”―Michael R. Hicks, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Education, Centenary College of Louisiana
”Inspired by the author’s real-life experiences, Freedom Lessons is a candid and nuanced novel about a young Northern woman who spends a year teaching in the 1960s Jim Crow South. In the process, she learns more about herself and her country than she ever expected. Freedom Lessons is illuminating and gripping, and a worthy addition to the literature of the civil rights era.”―Amy Hill Hearth, New York Times and Washington Post best-selling author and recipient of two American Library Association Notable Book citations
”In her riveting novel, Eileen Sanchez makes us feel the pain of a Louisiana community as deeply rooted prejudice undercuts school integration. Through her three characters―a white teacher from out of state, a hometown teacher scarred by personal slights, and a high school senior denied a football career when his team is relegated to second string―we experience their heartfelt frustrations while wishing history had treated them more kindly. Sanchez’s fiction gives us a glimpse into the truth of a highly flawed time and place, and the corrosive nature of prejudice that unfortunately persists today.”―Michelle Cameron, author of The Fruit of Her Hands and Beyond the Ghetto Gates
”Told in alternating viewpoints, this impressive novel reaches back in time to the early days of school integration, and to a place in America where resistance to integration was substantial.”―Historical Novel Society