Barefootin' : life lessons from the road to freedom

by Blackwell, Unita, 1933-

Format: Print Book 2006
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Homewood African American F350.N4 B58 2006
Location  CLP - Homewood
Collection  African American
Call Number  F350.N4 B58 2006
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction F350.N4 B58 2006
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  F350.N4 B58 2006
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 323.092 BLA
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  323.092 BLA
When you're starting out on the road barefootin', you don't know where you're going. But you've got to step out, or you'll never get anywhere. And you keep on going, one step at a time. You have to have faith to go barefooted--you don't know what you might step on, what pain might come--but you keep on walking. And it makes you tough. Sometimes you skip and jump and run. Sometimes you get a thorn in your toe or trip over a limb, but there's no turning back. Barefootin' means getting mud between your toes and dancing on the water! Your spirit is in your feet, and your spirit can run free. In 1933, Unita Blackwell was born in Lula, Mississippi, a tiny town in the Delta where living was as hard as it gets, the stuff of the blues music that originated there. Like the other black people in Lula, Unita grew up in a sharecropping family, riding on her mother's cotton sack before she was old enough to pick cotton herself. Having left school at age twelve in order to make a living, Unita was trapped in menial jobs, and a bright future seemed beyond her reach. But Unita was forever changed in the summer of 1964 when civil rights workers came to her town of Mayersville, Mississippi. Electrified by the movement, Unita transformed her life from one of despair to one of hope, and in Barefootin' she details her inspirational rise from poverty to power, from silence to outspokenness, from oppression to freedom. From her rebirth as a freedom fighter and social activist to her tenure as mayor of her home town, to her work as an international peacemaker and presidential advisor, here are all the unlikely turns of Unita's remarkable life. The lessons she shares affirm and motivate us all, whether it's to remember that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, that world-changing movements are the result of many small steps, or that freedom means taking responsibility for our own lives and helping to make the world a better place for all. Infused with the language and rhythms of the Delta,Barefootin'is at once the stirring memoir of an exceptional woman and a guide to living a full and meaningful life from someone who knows how.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "From the age of 72, Blackwell looks back over her life begun in barefoot poverty in a Mississippi sharecropping family. But barefoot for her also stands as a metaphor for humility and being in touch with the important things in life. She recalls the beginning of her involvement in the civil rights movement in June 1964 when, at 31, she joined seven others at the Mayersville courthouse to challenge restrictions to black voting rights. She recalls the other brave neighbors and activists who fought against restrictions imposed by law. With a plainspoken style, Blackwell chronicles her personal awakening as she went on to careers as a civil rights activist, academician, and mayor of Mayersville for 20 years. Through her own personal journey, Blackwell passes on the wisdom and lessons learned in a struggle that also changed the nation. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blackwell's engrossing autobiography makes for both a frontline account of the Civil Rights Movement by "a homegrown agitator" and a manual for political action. Born in the Mississippi Delta in 1933, Blackwell became a founding mother of the movement; her affiliations include the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the National Council of Negro Women, with whom she organized voter registration drives, school desegregation efforts, housing programs and economic boycotts. Blackwell was also elected the first black female mayor in Mississippi. Neither softening nor overdramatizing her story, she writes of the daily familial and communal African-American experiences that made her "just the kind of person" the civil rights workers "were looking for" when they arrived in Mayersville, Miss., in 1964. Overnight, Blackwell "went from cotton picker to full-time freedom fighter." Her experiences may seem familiar, but the intimacy and immediacy of her telling brings freshness to this slice of history. Blackwell's autobiography reaches back before that pivotal Freedom Summer and beyond-her role in a 1973 women's delegation to China and her MacArthur genius grant, for example. Distinguished by her vision and courage, Blackwell's autobiography is a moving spiritual guide as well as a valuable historical document. (June 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Blackwell, Unita, -- 1933-
African American women civil rights workers -- Mississippi -- Biography.
Civil rights workers -- Mississippi -- Biography.
African Americans -- Suffrage -- Mississippi -- History -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Civil rights -- Mississippi -- History -- 20th century.
Civil rights movements -- Mississippi -- History -- 20th century.
Women mayors -- Mississippi -- Mayersville -- Biography.
Mayors -- Mississippi -- Mayersville -- Biography.
Mississippi -- Race relations.
Mayersville (Miss.) -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Crown Publishers,2006
Edition 1st ed.
Other Titles Barefooting
Contributors Morris, JoAnne Pritchard.
Language English
Description xi, 258 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0609610600
Other Classic View