Freedom Train

Illustrated by David Riley
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About The Book

Clyde Thomason is proud to have an older brother who guards the Freedom Train. It's 1947, and the train is traveling to all forty-eight states, carrying important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Clyde is lucky that the train is stopping in Atlanta. In the segregated South the train will only stop at cities that agree to integrate the crowds lining up to glimpse its famous contents.

Clyde has been chosen to recite the Freedom Pledge, but he's afraid that he'll chicken out. It doesn't help that he's the favorite target of the class bully. When the bully tries to beat him up, Clyde is shocked that an African-American boy, William, comes to his rescue. He's even more shocked that William's family lives in the rich -- and white -- part of town. But why is he so surprised? And why can't he be open about his friendship with William? When William's family is threatened, Clyde must make a choice: Will he have the courage to speak out to protect William's freedom?

Evelyn Coleman paints a touching, often humorous picture of the 1940s South. Based on the real journey of the Freedom Train, this is the inspirational story of a young boy's awakening to the injustices around him -- and to the idea that things could change.

About The Author

Evelyn Coleman's books include To Be a Drum, White Socks Only, The Riches of Oseola McCarty, a Smithsonian Notable Book and a Carter G. Woodson Honor Book, and Born in Sin. Ms. Coleman lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received the Atlanta Mayor's fellowship for achievement in children's literature. Visit Evelyn online at

Awards and Honors

  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • "25 Books All Georgians Should Read" Selection

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