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Posted by Todney Harris
Review # 2: Through Angel’s Eyes by Steve Theunissen
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s was a tumultuous time in American history. During the sixties, the fabric of America was inexplicably burning with the embers of social change. The spark that lit the fuse was the courage of African American youth throughout the south. Once the movement had found leadership in Dr. King and the Black churches, the African American youth grabbed the reins of the movement in the hopes for racial equality in America. The book focuses on the Angel Dunbar as she finds the courage to participate in the process of racial change in Birmingham Alabama at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the racially segregated southern half of the union.
First, let me state for the record that I am an African American male. Also, I have been teaching in an urban setting for seventeen years. I appreciate the fact that this piece of writing reflects a period of time in American history that is culturally sensitive yet highly impactful due to its long term effects on racial relations in America from slavery to modern times. I think that Steve has done a masterful job with intertwining the life of Angel Dunbar with the prolific events that were occurring within the city of Birmingham and the rest of the south throughout the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, I especially like how he involved the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and primary source writings as the events were unfolding. It is almost as if Angel and her family actually existed and were a part of the movement of change in the city of Birmingham.
I must say that the book is properly researched. The effort of actual events, leaders, geography and racial tensions are an actual depiction of what occurred during this time period. However, I do have a reservation regarding the book. I understand that he wrote in the language of the times. I just think that the story would have been better served if it were written in regular language. I say this because the students have trouble enough reading without having to decipher language from the 1960’s.
All in all, I think the book is an excellent piece of fiction for young minds to read who are studying the Civil Rights Movement in America. The book offers a personal insight to the struggles that young people encountered during the early stages of the movement. The African American youth recognized the fact that they had to get involved and take over the reins of the movement. They knew that their parents could not due to the fact that they were employed by the people who were resistant to change.
Rating on the run (4.5/5) I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.