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Meet the Author: Eileen Harrison Sanchez with Freedom Lessons
May 15 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
We’re thrilled to host award-winning author Eileen Harrison Sanchez at Main Street Reads May 15th, to discuss her novel, Freedom Lessons.
Told alternately, by Colleen, an idealistic young white teacher; Frank, a black high school football player; and Evelyn, an experienced black teacher, Freedom Lessons is the story of how the lives of these three very different people intersect in a rural Louisiana town in 1969.
Colleen enters into the culture of the rural Louisiana town with little knowledge of the customs and practices. She is compelled to take sides after the school is integrated–an overnight event for which the town’s residents are unprepared, and which leads to confusion and anxiety in the community–and her values are tested as she seeks to understand her black colleagues, particularly Evelyn. Why doesn’t she want to integrate the public schools?
Frank, meanwhile, is determined to protect his mother and siblings after his father’s suspicious death–which means keeping a secret from everyone around him.
Based on the author’s experience teaching in Louisiana in the late sixties, this heartfelt, unflinching novel about the unexpected effects of school integration during that time takes on the issues our nation currently faces regarding race, unity, and identity.
Freedom Lessons – A Novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction and those interested in a broader view of our current civil rights and public school challenges.
History could guide us if we would only listen.
Freedom Lessons – A Novel is a fictionalized version of the year Eileen spent teaching in a rural Louisiana town in the late 1960s. Her life’s work has been as an advocate for free, appropriate and respectful educational opportunity for all students. She retired after a forty-year career in public education.