Murder on the Highway: The Viola Liuzzo Story

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9780027826326: Murder on the Highway: The Viola Liuzzo Story

Recounts the life of Viola Gregg Liuzzo, the mother of five and a native of Detroit, who worked valiantly in the transport team of Alabama's civil rights movement of 1965, until she was slain by the KKK.

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From Booklist:

Gr. 5-9. Viola Liuzzo was a 39-year-old white woman, a mother of five who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for her part in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Siegel frames Liuzzo's personal story with a general history of segregation and the African American struggle for the right to vote. The author focuses especially on the confrontation in Selma and the horror of "Bloody Sunday" that drew Liuzzo from her home in Detroit to join the march. Then Siegel describes the immediate events leading up to the shoot-out on the highway. The last part of the book deals with the trials, the eventual conviction of Klansmen on conspiracy charges, and the aftermath. There's a chapter about the Klan, and a chilling epilogue raises questions about the role of the FBI informer. The writing is sometimes dull, but the political material is compelling, and Siegel does give some sense of Liuzzo as ordinary woman and as "saint," her problems as well as her idealism. There are no source notes, but a bibliographic essay directs readers to newspaper and magazine accounts written during that time. With several full-page photographs, this is an important addition to the growing body of biography about the brave people in the civil rights movement. Hazel Rochman

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-12-Among the martyrs of the civil rights movement were a number of northern whites who went south to help with voter registration and community organizing campaigns. Viola Liuzzo, a young mother of five from Detroit, was shot and killed while driving an African-American organizer home after the 1965 march from Selma, Alabama, to Birmingham. In this biography, her life is placed within the context of the entire movement, as well as that of the Selma march. Siegel presents the woman's early life and the factors that led her to join the struggle. Despite scanty published information on her subject, the author manages to give readers a sense of who Liuzzo was. She also points out that Federal action against white supremacists tended to occur only when white activists died. The book, however, suffers from organizational flaws, particularly in its chronology. Events are frequently related out of sequence, with a great deal of backtracking. The account ends in 1983, when a Federal court acquitted the FBI informant who had participated in Liuzzo's murder.
Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Siena College Library, Loudonville, NY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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