Stories From the American Journey


This is a book of stories--some of the favorite stories of the author, drawn from his four decades in the classroom. They present some of those adventurous spirits, that great galaxy of talented individuals, who through their vision and their deeds have expressed the ideals of the nation.
It tells the story of creative, determined activity on a broad canvas of landscapes, a story that ranges across the continent to those places where people stood strong for justice, rallied for free expression of ideas, set their imaginations to work in inventing useful products, organized their neighborhoods in new ways, broke through to new visions of business endeavors, or simply found ways to respect and support one another.
Many of the names will be familiar: Benjamin Franklin, Roger Williams, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, Theodore Roosevelt, Jane Addams, The Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Others will be less known:
Frederick Tudor, and the grand adventure of bringing ice to Calcutta
Dorothea Dix, who traveled 10,000 miles to bring rights to the insane
Jacob Riis, the journalist whose camera showed the tragedy of life in the tenements
Lillian Wald, whose encounter with a child changed nursing forever
The Chinese whose heroic efforts built the Transcontinental Railroad
Japanese-Americans in WWII: Incarceration and heroic deeds
The "Candy Bomber" who brought joy to the poor children of Berlin
The Little Rock Nine who faced down mobs to integrate a school
Then there are the life dramas that shaped the national character:
How John Adams defended the British soldiers of the Boston Massacre
How a fog saved the American Revolution on Long Island
How flatboats, steamboats and a canal opened up the West
How a factory fire in Manhattan awakened the conscience of the nation
How intrepid drivers crossed America in days before highways--and maps
How a group of college students sat down to end segregation in Nashville
And, finally, there are stories of men and women in our own time whose deeds continue to bring hope and inspiration to a nation.
Stories, after all, take you places. They draw you into a situation, allow you to traverse a landscape, to live into deeds of human beings in all their freshness. In the words of Alfred North Whitehead, stories should be told as if “just drawn out of the sea.” It is hoped that readers of all ages will find them both inspiring and relevant to their lives today.

Karl Fredrickson taught history at Green Meadow Waldorf High School in New York's Hudson Valley for 35 years. Having grown up in the prairies of Minnesota, he now lives near the highlands of New Jersey.