Freedom Lessons is a historical fiction work that ties into author Eileen Harrison Sanchez’s passion of advocating for free, appropriate, and respectful educational opportunities for all students. She spent time in both segregated and integrated public school during her forty year career, which started with her in the role of classroom teacher and ended with her in the position of district administrator. This is a work of passion that she is proud to be out in the world thanks to She Writes Press as her publisher and Ingram Publishing Services as the distributor.
Beginning in Louisiana 1969 Colleen is a white Northern teacher who has come to a small Southern town, which she doesn’t entirely understand. There is an unfamiliar culture and unwritten rules that seem even more heightened by mandated school integration. She meets Frank, who is a black high school football player, and Evelyn, an experienced teacher and a prominent member of the black community. As Colleen is on her journey of understanding and adjustment, Frank is trying to protect his family and Colleen is trying to decide whether she can trust this new white colleague. Moving between these three characters, we see how three very seemingly different people all intersect at the time that the nation is going through a large shift.
As soon as the story starts we learn that Colleen is not only moving to new community, but she is also moving there with someone that she is worried may not be expected. Miguel is her now husband, who she married very quickly before this move. The fact that she is tied to a person of color does show that while she herself has moved through the world as a white woman, she has someone in her life that has experienced life outside of the majority. Evelyn has a powerful presence and as she tries to connect with Colleen, she is also concerned about the children at the school. While integration is happening there is still so much racial separation in this part of the United States that moving so easily between segregated areas is still dangerous. Frank’s story is full of sadness, but he is trying to fight his way to a better life. This is a powerful book that draws together the threads of so many stories in an artfully done way. You can get your copy of Freedom Lessons today.