Nubian Circle Book Club

Who We Are
NCBC Guidelines
NCBC Calendar
NCBC Book Reviews
What We've Read (2001-Present)
Freedom In The Family Book Review

Reviewed by Phyllis Rhodes

A Celebration of Unsung Heroes Freedom in the Family by mother-daughter authors, Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due, is an account of their family's involvement in the Civil Rights movement.  Told in alternating chapters, the book recounts the contributions of their family, friends and supporters in an autobiographical format. Patricia Due carefully shares her personal family history as foundation for her motivation and attraction toward the principles of racial equality.  She drew courage and strength from the examples her parents provided in daily life. She covers the fear, anxiety, blood, sweat, and tears that resulted from numerous sit-in's, freedom rides, marches, and rallies in such detail that I felt I had witnessed them myself.  She shares her pain and dedication in heartfelt passages such as the loss of a baby during a voter registration project. 

Tananarive's viewpoint is that of a daughter living in the post-Civil Rights era.  Her story recaps the difficulty of growing up in largely white neighborhoods and schools and of being ostracized by both blacks for being "too white" and whites for being "too black". The details of her struggle and childhood observations of her parent's lives are equally compelling as her mother's. This novel is a wonderful history lesson that includes details that uncover the fortitude and determination of many unsung heroes.  The personal sacrifices (suspension/expulsion from college, permanent physical injury, and death) of "everyday people" for the sake of justice are truly admirable and honorable.

For this reviewer, this book was particularly touching because Patricia goes into great detail about the forming of CORE and other noteworthy events happening at FAMU during the same era when my parents, aunts, and uncles attended. She also mentions events in other small towns in Florida where other members of my family lived, so key passages sparked a lot of memories --resulting in me getting a very personal slant on my family's viewpoints on the struggle while reading this book.  This body of work is truly a labor of love and a great accomplishment for the Due family; one can only imagine the countless hours it took to pull it all together.  It is an excellent memoir, a beautiful legacy, and a definite keepsake for me!

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Freedom In The Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights is 5 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address: