Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary
by Elizabeth Partridge
"The first time Joanne Blackmon was arrested, she was just ten years old."
That opening line will grab a reader of any age. Marching For Freedom recounts the roll children played in the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Filled with beautiful black and white photographs that tell the story of children who dared to fight for their rights and the rights of their parents.
I love the unsugarcoated honesty of this book. It gives ugly truth of what was going on in Alabama in 1963. How Black people were denied the right to vote, and risked their life if they tried to do so. There are many books about this time in history, including children's books. Marching For Freedom stands out because its the children's voices we hear. Along with the photographs, the author shares their memories.
"Panicked marchers ran back to the Carver Homes, chased by the posse, who were beating and whipping any marcheres they could reach. "They would lean over the horse and hit you as hard as they could," said Bobby. "It was so cruel." He made it back across the bridge, dodging uniformed Selma fireman who were grabbing people and holding them for the posse to hit. When Joanne groggily came to, she was lying in the back of a car parked beside the bridge. Lynda was bending over her crying and crying, her tears dropping down on Joanne. When Joanne came fully awake, she realized it wasn't tears but blood from the two gashes in Lynda's head dripping on her." (From Bloody Sunday)
"As Lynda came out of the tent, she saw three National Guardsman standing in front of a jeep, the butts of their guns perched on their waists, bayonets pointing up at the sky. She realized with a shock that they were just like the men who'd beaten her on the bridge. "It looked like they were staring straight at me," she said, as Bloody Sunday rushed back to her, "I thought they were there to kill me to finish off the job they'd started." She started screaming."
Too many times history books focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ignoring others who played a pivotal roll. This is the first time I ever remember Hosea Williams and John Lewis mentioned in a children's book. Beginning in Alabama in 1963 ending in Washington D.C in 1965, Marching For Freedom is an amazing book. Ages 10up
This book would go nicely with
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose 16yr old Claudette refused to give up her bus seat 9 months before Rosa Parks. Another wonderful case of a teen standing up justice
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon - Set in Chicago 1968, 13yr old Sam must decide wants the right path for him, peaceful protesting like his father or the Black Panthers like his older brother. Though this is fiction, its still about a young person wanting to do something to bring about change. my review
I've linked this post to Non Fiction Monday