December 12, 2013
Michael and Linda Connelly
The Studio@620 invites you to a reading by author Corinne L. Gaile, who will present selections from her book "Fearless Freedom" on Thursday December 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase during the event. "Fearless Freedom" is an engaging, evocative young adult novel about a pre-adolescent girl's involvement in the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Bernice, the young girl at the center of the story, is about as appealing a heroine as one could hope for, a believable blend of childish naïveté and sophisticated ideology. There are few surprises for those readers with a basic familiarity of the civil rights movement, but this work is a suitable introduction for those without that familiarity. And, with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington just past, this book could not be more timely and relevant. A moving, triumphant novel encapsulating a young girl’s personal struggle for equality within the larger movement.
Author Corinne L. Gaile started out as a dancer, became an artist, and is now a writer of middle grade and young adult novels. Along the way, she taught sculpture at a university, curated art exhibitions, and lectured on art and culture in the African Diaspora.
"I was inspired to write Fearless Freedom after watching a show, on Oprah back in 2011, about the Freedom Riders on their 50th anniversary. The Freedom Riders were a group of black and white people, mostly college students who rode through the South to test the Supreme Court rulings that ended segregation on interstate buses and trains and in their terminals. One of the Freedom Riders’ buses was bombed and another group of riders was beaten bloody in Birmingham, Alabama. Despite the violence, the Freedom Riders persevered and by the end of the summer of 1961, hundreds of people were freedom riding all over the South.
One of the guests on Oprah that day had been a young girl at the time and she recalled being trapped inside a civil rights meeting held at a church that was surrounded by an angry mob. I wondered how she felt. Why did she go to the meeting? Was she afraid? What did she think about the mob?
In 1963, I was nine years old, living in Philadelphia. I remember watching images of children on television blasted by firefighters’ hoses and chased by ferocious police dogs. It was hard to believe that was happening to children like me, in my country.
I have always admired the bravery of civil rights activists, but the courage of the children protesters was hard to imagine. I wanted to write about them and I found my story in the Children’s Crusade that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963." --Corinne L. Gaile