Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America
Professor Jeremy Pilarski
April 7, 2014
The following report focuses on the literary work by author Frye Gaillard titled Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America, a book that outlines and presents a historical recounting of key events and anecdotal evidence of the Civil Rights Movement in the state of Alabama throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The book was published in 2004 by the University of Alabama Press in Tuscaloosa and extends to a full reading of 384 pages, inclusive of additional remarks, notes and other ...view middle of the document...
It is crucial to take into consideration Gaillardâ€™s evolutionary progress as a writer, provided that he has written nineteen books throughout his career and collaborated on a number of projects with other renown scholars. Gaillardâ€™s credibility is primarily derived from his extensive focus and devotion to the topic of Southern political history and culture. His works are not exclusively focused on African-American studies, but are heavily populated with overtones of historical analysis of race relations in the South, which is inevitably infused with racial and political conflict. Gaillard has received multiple literary awards and numerous nominations throughout his lifetime; Cradle of Freedom has been amongst one of his most recognized pieces. Although Gaillardâ€™s accomplishments are evident, one should not be inclined to think that his perspective on racial politics and history is all-encompassing and entirely neutral. Gaillard is ethnically Caucasian and although his views are sympathetic to the Civil Rights Movement, the modern political scientist and sociologist needs to scrutinize Cradle of Freedom based on the fact that it is being written from the perspective of an individual who was not directly involved in the protest, not to mention that he does not belong to the ethnic group that composed most of the membership the Civil Rights Movement. The most pragmatic advantage for contemporary scholars stems from the fact that Cradle of Freedom is a literary work inundated with the advantage of hindsight. However, the peculiar caveat about this specific book is that it is largely composed of primary source evidence or first-hand recounting from Civil Rights activists of the time. In other words, there is a sense of context that needs to be thoroughly explored and constantly reiterated in order to fully grasp the ideas and historical presentation that Gaillard exposes.
For the modern academic or scholar of political science, history, or sociology, Cradle of Freedom cannot be necessarily categorized as an in-depth analysis or academic piece of literature. Again, it is imperative to emphasize this because the reader will extract true value from the book based on the purpose for which it is being read. Gaillardâ€™s overall framework is not to present an extensive analysis or dissertation on any specific topic or issue. Instead, the book is structured in a relatively chronological format and is not separated or structured according to thematic relevance. In other words, the individual interested in the Civil Rights Movement who intends to obtain information regarding the constitutionality of protest, discussion of civil rights legislation, or any other theme or hardened political issue will not find the book particularly useful. Cradle of Freedom is written in a narrative format, outlining the development and unfolding of events, giving heightened attention to personalities, characters, and locations. It is deliberately written in a rather...