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Press Release

Remember: The Journey to School Integration
by the Pulitzer Prize recipient and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison

2005 Coretta Scott King Award Medalist

"This book is about you. Even though the main event in the story took place many years ago, what happened before it and after is now part of all our lives. Because remembering is the mind's first step toward understanding, this book is designed to take you on a journey through a time in American life when there was as much hate as there was love; as much anger as there was hope; as many heroes as cowards. As with any journey, there is often a narrow path to walk before you can see the wide road ahead. And sometimes there is a closed gate between the path and the road."

About the Book

In her introduction to Remember: The Journey to School Integration, Toni Morrison sets readers on a journey toward understanding the events of the era of "separate but equal" schooling. The book, which is also the story of America's journey toward tolerance, will be published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court handed down a decision ending the legal segregation of American schools. In Remember, Ms. Morrison places the decision in the context of the civil rights movement and describes both the hope and the pain that followed in its wake. She was inspired to create the book by the treasure chest of archival photographs she found depicting this watershed era in American history.

These photographs were the catalyst for the book; their power is extended by Ms. Morrison's imaginative rendering of the words and emotions of the children who lived during this period. Striking sepia-toned photographs depict the fears and struggles but also the everyday lives of the children involved in school desegregation. The simple and moving text takes them out of history and makes it seem as if they were classmates or neighbors today. Together, the dialogue and images introduce young readers to this painful yet inspirational time in our nation's history and remind them of its relevance today. They will think about how it felt not to be able to attend school because of the color of one's skin, and how the efforts of brave yet ordinary citizens made it possible to do so.

Ms. Morrison eloquently recalls her own participation in the civil rights movement and the joy she felt upon hearing of the Brown decision. "Toni Morrison is a master storyteller who takes readers on a stunning visual and narrative journey. Remember gives voice to the faces that painted the civil rights landscape of America in years past," says Andrea Davis Pinkney, vice president and publisher, Houghton Mifflin Children's Books.

Remember is sure to be part of a national remembrance of a tumultuous time and a groundbreaking legal decision. But it is more than an account of America's past — it is also the story of our continuing journey toward equality and tolerance. A monumental struggle on the part of so many Americans, young and old, set our country down the right path. Remember will inspire today's children to continue the journey that was begun more than fifty years ago.

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children has created a companion video for Remember, narrated by Ms. Morrison. The video includes photographs and captions from the book as well as archival footage and music from the period. Ms. Morrison speaks to an audience of young people about her reasons for creating this important book, and calls on today’s children to be active in fostering tolerance in their schools and communities. If you would like a copy of this video, please contact Children's_Books@hmco.com. The video is available online; an abbreviated version and additional resources on Toni Morrison and the Brown v. Board of Education decision will be available at www.teachingbooks.net.

About the Author

Toni Morrison's novel Beloved won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. In 1993 she won the Nobel Prize in literature. Ms. Morrison is currently the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. Remember is her first historical work for young people.

View a video of images from Remember

Follow these links to view a video of images from Remember and hear Ms. Morrison discussing her inspiration for creating the book.

For best picture and sound quality, we suggest using the latest QuickTime player and a 28.8 Kbps or faster connection. If you are experiencing problems viewing this video, please refer to the QuickTime help page.

If you have high-speed Internet access (DSL/Cable/LAN), use the following links:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

If you have dial-up modem Internet access (56k), use the following links:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

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