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Books for changing the world
101 Changemakers
Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History
In the great tradition of Howard Zinn, 101 Changemakers offers a “peoples’ history” version of the individuals who have shaped our country for middle school students. In the place of founding fathers, presidents, and titans of industry, are profiles of those who courageously fought for social justice in America: Tecumseh, Harriet Tubman, Mark Twain, César Chávez, Rachel Carson, Harvey Milk, Henry Wallace, and many more. 101 Changemakers aims to provide young students with new ways of understanding how history is written and made.

  • Though this populous gallery of radicals includes the usual suspects like Susan B. Anthony, César Chávez, and Malcolm X, it focuses far more on lesser-known figures active in the abolition of slavery; the labor union and environmental movements; and the struggles to equalize civil rights for African Americans, women, immigrants, and the LGBT community. Each of the chronologically arranged entries includes a large picture, a brief account of experiences or achievements, a biographical time line, study questions, and enhancement activities that range from suggested readings to “write your own jailhouse letter.” Dubbing Frederick Douglass a freedom fighter and Albert Parsons a “martyr” of the Haymarket riot, the language betrays a leftist slant—as do some of the questions: “Can you think of other times in history when the government has used patriotism to drum up support for war?” Still, these introductions to Studs Terkel (“the world’s greatest listener”), Fred Korematsu, Tecumseh, Francis Perkins, Bob Dylan, transgender activist Sylvia Rae Rivera, and others will give even well-read students a new angle on our country’s history.

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