When she was born in 1921, the lynching of African-Americans was a national disgrace, minstrel shows were the most popular American form of entertainment, women were looked at suspiciously by many for exercising their right to vote, and most African-Americans in the Deep South could not vote at all. From her great-grandmother, who had been enslaved until she was in her mid-20s, Betty heard stories of slavery and the difficult times for Black Folk that immediately followed. In her lifetime, Betty has seen the nation begin to break down its race and gender biases, watched it nearly split apart in the upheavals of the civil rights and Black Power eras, and, finally, lived long enough to witness both the election of an African-American president and the re-emergence of a militant, racist far right.
But far more than being merely a witness, Betty Reid Soskin has been an active participant with so many other Americans in shaping the country as we know it now.
Sign My Name to Freedom invites readers into an American life through the words and thoughts of a national treasure who has never stopped looking at herself, the nation, or the world with fresh eyes.