Uncle Sam’s Children: Travels in the USA


3Uncle Sam’s Children: Travels in the USA takes place in 1965, the date of its original publication in Denmark. Recently translated into English, the book chronicles the journey of Danish travel writer Karl Eskelund (1918-1972) and his wife Chi-yun, who traverse the United States. Three chapters cover the Eskelunds’ visit to McComb, Mississippi following Freedom Summer, during the height of church bombings and racial violence.

Writing from the perspective of an incredulous, anti-racist outsider, Eskelund encounters activists at the local Freedom House, sharecroppers, voter registration canvassers, white law enforcement officers, Movement volunteers, and a preacher.

Of particular interest are a photograph and account of Jessie Owens (who had earlier been expelled following the Burgland High School walkout) and German volunteer Ursula Junk, at Freedom House; and the story of a housepainter, Mr. Green, who loses his white customers when his son submits an application to Ole Miss after James Meredith’s successful desegregation of the university. Eskelund also recounts accompanying two voter registration workers on their rural rounds. [Review by Elizabeth Boyd.]

Credit: By Karl Eskelund. Published by What in the World Publishing, 1965.