They called themselves the K.K.K.: the birth of an American terrorist group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.
Shortly after the American Civil War ended a group of Southern gentlemen started an organization to enforce and preserve the ways of the pre-Civil War South. In the dead of the night the members of the organization hid their identities with hooded costumes and terrorized Northerners living in the South, Blacks and their supporters, going as far as to burn homes and commit murder.
Rich with photographs, illustrations and detailed writing, this book documents the struggles of the freed slaves and their supporters and the inhuman actions of the KKK.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I like historical fiction. As you can imagine, I also like to read historical non-fiction. This is an excellent example of historical non-fiction written for a teen audience.
Included in this book are a lot of first person accounts, photographs and other historical materials – none of which have been doctored in order to clean them up for the intended audience. In fact, the Author’s Note even states:
“Wherever possible, I have let the people of the past speak in their own voices. Some of these people use crude language. No matter how difficult it is to see the offensive words in print, I have made no attempt to censor these historical statements.”
She goes on to say the same about images that “caricatured and are racially offensive”.
I applaud her willingness to not censor the past, instead showing how horrible things really were for many living during that time period.
Additionally, there are both an extensive Civil Rights timeline and a comprehensive bibliography and source notes included with the back matter.
This was on the shortlist for the 2011 YALSA Non-Fiction award.