Cover image for There comes a time : the struggle for Civil Rights
There comes a time : the struggle for Civil Rights
Meltzer, Milton, 1915-2009.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 2001.
Physical Description:
193 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Presents an overview of the events in African American history that culminated in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s and represented a striving for equal rights.
Reading Level:
1090 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.8 5.0 48150.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.7 9 Quiz: 23831 Guided reading level: NR.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Aurora Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Clinton Branch Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library E185.61 .M53 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Historian, scholar, and award-winning author Milton Meltzer outlines the struggle of African Americans for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," starting with the landing of the first slave ships on colonial shores. How did over 300 years of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws come to an end in the civil rights movement of the 1960s? What was achieved, and what are the problems still facing us today?

Author Notes

Historian Milton Meltzer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. He attended Columbia University, but had to leave during his senior year because of the Great Depression. He got a job writing for the WPA Federal Theater Project. During World War II, he served as an air traffic controller in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked as a writer for CBS radio and in public relations for Pfizer.

In 1956, he published his first book A Pictorial History of the Negro American, which was co-written by Langston Hughes. They also collaborated on Langston Hughes: A Biography, which was published in 1968 and received the Carter G. Woodson award. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 110 books for young people including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? about the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression; Never to Forget about the Holocaust; and There Comes a Time about the Civil Rights movement. He also addressed such topics as crime, ancient Egypt, the immigrant experience, labor movements, photography, piracy, poverty, racism, and slavery. He wrote numerous biographies including ones on Mary McLeod Bethune, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Sanger, and Henry David Thoreau. He received the 2000 Regina Medal and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his body of work and his lasting contribution to children's literature. He died of esophageal cancer on September 19, 2009 at the age of 94.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. This respected author's survey of civil rights starts out weakly but eventually builds up enough steam to close with a stirring call to action. Meltzer begins with slavery and the promise of Reconstruction, tracing seesawing political developments. These early pages read like a textbook, illuminating but detached. It is not until the chapters on school desegregation in Little Rock, sit-in strikes, and the freedom rides that the details deepen and the narrative begins to carry an emotional impact. The book ends shortly after the King assassination, as the movement loses momentum. Meltzer says the subsequent decades--regardless of which party was in power--were devoid of real leadership, and he echoes William Julius Wilson's call for a multiracial coalition to push for political change. The short chapters will initially appeal to reluctant readers, but the lack of subheads and sidebars and the dearth of illustrations (there are some) make the text uninviting. A bibliography and a chronology of events from 1940 to 1968 are appended. --Randy Meyer

Publisher's Weekly Review

This impressive survey of the civil rights movement spans the Middle Passage and extends to the compromises of modern presidents. Meltzer (Langston Hughes; Lincoln in His Own Words) begins with college freshman Joseph McNeill, who in 1960 staged the first lunch-counter sit-in in Greensboro, N.C. Thus Meltzer places a human face on the commitment and determination necessary to shift centuries of discrimination. With concrete biographical examples such as these, Meltzer then makes larger points about the movement's momentum; for example he extrapolates from Rosa Parks's role in 1955 Montgomery, Ala.: "Out of the bus boycott came something newÄnonviolent resistanceÄthat people of any color, creed, or class would find enormously helpful in bringing about social change." Several chapters conclude with discussions of single topics, such as "Why Direct Action," which excerpts Martin Luther King Jr.'s powerful "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and the history behind the term "Black Power." Meltzer, unafraid to take a stand, argues that with King's death, "the civil rights movement, already torn by dissent within it, lost its unity of purpose," and further asserts that no president after Nixon "did much to improve conditions for the disinherited." He concludes with a look to the future and a call to action, stating, "Democracy is not what we have: IT IS WHAT WE DO." Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-This concise, informational overview of the civil rights movement in America opens with four brave young men sitting at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, on January 31, 1960, and then goes back more than 300 years to the roots of slavery. Meltzer details centuries of African-American history with an immediacy that keeps readers turning the pages. The writing is clear and straightforward, making it accessible and appealing. For today's students who did not live through the `50s and `60s, some of the events that dramatically unfold will seem like fiction, but the lengthy bibliography attests to its accuracy. This is nonfiction at its best. Meltzer examines all facets of the civil rights struggle and the history of racism in this country. His perceptive account will cause readers to think critically about where we have been and where we are going as a nation. Well-captioned black-and-white photos appear throughout. A must for all collections, and a fine companion to Mary Turck's The Civil Rights Movement for Kids (Chicago Review, 2000).-Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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