Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement

DURING MUCH OF THIS CENTURY, a great struggle has been waged in the United States for full social and economic equality for its African American citizens. From the student sit-ins of the 1930s to the bus boycotts of the 1950s to the massive protest marches of the late 1950s and early 1960s, most of the battles were nonviolent ones.

This was due, in large part, to the work of a man named Bayard Rustin. He was not a famous orator, like Martin Luther King Jr., or a flamboyant personality, like Adam Clayton Powell Jr., or even the head of any major civil rights organization. But for many years, Rustin was a key player in every major civil rights initiative in the United States. A passionate believer in nonviolent resistance, Rustin helped steer the movement in that direction. And with his skill in organizing and his almost limitless energy, Rustin made it possible for blacks and whites to work together for a common goal: the equality of all people. His crowning accomplishment, the 1963 March on Washington, led to the most sweeping civil rights legislation the country had ever seen.

In the clear, compelling narrative for which he is renowned, James Haskins paints a vivid portrait of activist Bayard Rustin against the backdrop of the twentieth-century American civil rights movement.

Buy a site-wide perpetual license for your school, book club, family, or religious or civic group through Gumroad:

Sample or buy a  single copy on Amazon.

During his career JAMES HASKINS wrote more than one hundred books for both adult and young adult audiences, including Freedom Rides, published by Hyperion Books for Children; Rosa Parks: My Story (cowritten by Rosa Parks); The March on Washington; Black Music in America, a 1989 Carter G. Woodson Award winner; and Black Dance in America, a 1991 Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book.

Photo of Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison: American Inventor by Ray Eldon Hiebert and Roselyn Hiebert

Download in the epub format for Android and Apple devices:

Download in the mobi format for Amazon devices:

A self-made man with little formal education, Thomas Edison had a remarkable mind and possessed the imagination, creative ability, self-confidence, and perseverance to succeed brilliantly in his field. It was he who perfected the incandescent electric bulb, improved on the telephone, made the first phonograph, and pioneered motion pictures. The list of his other inventions is long.
His traits were so common to the traditional American character of his day that he can right¬fully be called “an American inventor.” Most important was his ability to work hard. From the time he was twelve years old until-he reached his middle eighties he worked, often day and night. By trial and error he patiently attacked problems until he found their solutions. With his men he perfected the teamwork approach to systematic research. His laboratories at Menlo Park and West Orange, New Jersey, were the early models for the huge industrial research and development institutions of today.
In a biography rich with anecdote, Roselyn and Ray Eldon Hiebert present an unforgettable picture of this lively and colorful man—a true rugged individualist.

Abraham Lincoln by James Daugherty

Download the epub format for Android tablets, Chromebooks and Apple devices:

Download the mobi format for Amazon devices:

James Henry Daugherty (1889-1974), winner of a Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature, was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but grew up in Indiana and Ohio. When he was 9, the family moved to Washington D.C., where he studied at the Corcoran School of Art, and the Philadelphia Art Academy. He then spent two years in London studying under Frank Brangwyn.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Daugherty “won distinction as a writer and illustrator of children’s books on American historical themes.”

Mr. Daugherty’s books of biography and frontier tales include “Abraham Lincoln,” “The Landing of the Pilgrims,” “West of Boston” and “Their Weight in Wildcats.”

Daugherty’s first publication was an illustration for John Flemming Wilson’s series, Tad Sheldon, Boy Scout (1913). He then worked camouflaging ships and creating four murals in Loew’s State Theatre, Cleveland, while illustrating fiction, and signed and unsigned magazine work. In 1925 he was asked to illustrate R.H. Horne’s King Penguin which he describes as the first book he ever illustrated. In 1926 S.E. White’s Daniel Boone, Wilderness Scout appeared, with Daugherty illustrations. He won the Newbery in 1940 for his self-illustrated Daniel Boone and was runner-up for two Caldecott Medals with Andy and the Lion, 1939, and Gillespie and the Guards, 1957.

Power to the People: The Rise and Fall of the Black Panther Party by Jim Haskins

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense knew what they wanted. They were young. They were black. They couldn’t be ignored. Their ten-point platform was just the beginning of an unforgettable period in the history of this nation’s civil rights movement. By 1967 the Black Panthers had established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Their ideas, their agenda, their fight for equality for African Americans, put these outspoken youth on the map of American politics.

In this intriguing, comprehensive book, award-winning author Jim Haskins outlines the conditions that set the stage for the party’s founding. Haskins tells what motivated the party’s leaders, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. And finally, the author relates how the Black Panthers, at one time a powerful and focused organi­zation, suffered a painful demise.

Dynamic photographs offer an in-your-face look at the Black Panthers in action.

Buy a site-wide perpetual license for your school, book club, extended family, or religious or civic group through Gumroad:

Sample or buy an individual copy on Amazon at

Jim Haskins was a four-time Coretta Scott King Honor winner, and the author of more than one hundred books for young adult and adult readers. Haskins was also a professor of English at the University of Florida, Gainesville.


Mississippi Notebook: Freedom Summer June-August 1964 by Nicholas Von Hoffman

One of those who watched and was watched in the turbulent summer of 1964 was Chicago Daily News reporter Nicholas von Hoffman.
Through ten tense weeks and over 6000 miles of dusty roads and highways, from the Delta to the piney hills to the Gulf, von Hoffman studied the state of mind of the State of Mississippi.
Mississippi Notebook is his vivid and entirely honest record of that summer, a summer that was marked by murder, violence, and intimidation on a scale that is difficult to grasp for any but those who witnessed it, or—and worse—for those who were made to suffer it.
Sometimes it is the way people talk, how they look, the small but illuminating incident overlooked in the broad sweep of the news that really tells the story and makes a complex social crisis understandable.
Such is the case with Mississippi Notebook. It is a finely detailed and deeply disturbing report on a state and its people, white and black, who are playing a major role in the greatest domestic crisis now facing the nation.

Please Donate and Support the Free Ebook Program

Please donate to help pay for the advertising of the Free Ebook program.

Our goal is to increase print exposure for high school students so that they will be better prepared for college and the workplace. Textbooks are not enough. Students need interesting reading experiences at a variety of grade levels that textbooks are not providing.

With your donation to our 501c.3, which is tax deductible, you help us produce and market more ebooks for high school students.

Convince your staff that the volume of reading matters.

Ask teachers if print exposure can make students smarter. Consider the ideas of Keith Stanovich at

If they agree with Stanovich, where will more print exposure come from? Will students reading below grade level enjoy World History textbook paragraphs about people of the river in Mesopotamia, or do they need something more engaging?

Share the work of Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich with them which shows how the volume of reading influences reading comprehension.

Kindles in Schools

Kindles go to Canton-McKinley High School in Ohio.

The Kindle initiative at Clearwater High School in Florida which started in 2010.

The Bring Your Technology program at Clearwater High School.

The contract with parents used at Clearwater to encourage the return of the Kindles in good condition at the end of the year.

Top 8 Tips for Using Kindle Readers in the Classroom.

No money for tablets. Read ebooks on home computers with Google Play Books or Calibre.

Obviously, the quickest way to provide reading experiences for students is to suggest titles on this web site, or Project Gutenberg, or Standard Ebooks or another free ebook site. You may want to provide a suggestion of what program to use to read the ebooks such as Calibre or Moon Plus Reader or Google Play Books which is mentioned below. And there is a great deal of information on the web about how to move downloaded ebooks onto tablets. It can be automatic if a student already has an ebook app installed on the tablet. (We do find that for some reason, ebooks won’t upload to Google Play Books right after a download from Project Gutenberg. We see an UPLOAD FAILED message after trying to upload to Google Play Books. We have to find the ebook in a folder on a tablet and upload it to Google Play Books from there. If you experience this problem, suggest that your students skip Google Play Books and install and use Moon Plus Reader, a free app which has never failed to upload and open an ebook.)


But some students don’t have tablets or the Internet at home


These students don’t need tablets or the Internet to enjoy ebooks.

How can students read without tablets or the internet?

Schools that have not closed could give each student a $3 thumb drive. With this drive students could go to terminals in the school library, and transfer copies of ebooks and  a copy of Calibre to install at home on Windows or Macintosh. Using the Add books icon in Calibre is as friendly as computing gets.

For years I resisted reading ebooks on a computer screen because of the glare on the screen, but the ebook experience with Calibre is decent.  I have edited a number of books using Readium, an app similar to Calibre without much eye strain. But Google is ending its support for Readium. I love the large fonts and large pages in Calibre. Calibre provides the reader with a much larger page than any ereader or tablet.

For students using Chromebooks at home, Calibre will not work, but Google Play Books is excellent. It works on Chromebooks, Android tablets, Windows computers and all Apple devices.

With ebooks your students can adjust the screens to use larger fonts, and  there is research which shows that  struggling readers prefer larger fonts.

Here is what a page in Calibre looks like. With the F11 key in Calibre, the menu on the side will disappear, and a screen exactly like the one below will appear.

With the roll out of Chromebooks in many school districts, and much more home ownership of laptops and desktop computers, it could be time for new reading experiences with Calibre or Readium. Unfortunately, Calibre does not have a version for Chromebooks, but Readium will work on Chromebooks.

In the future, It  might be interesting to see if students preferred convertible or flip screen Chromebooks running Google apps to standard laptop Chromebooks.  The flip screen will provide a tablet experience.