Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights

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9780140384321: Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights

Describes the experiences of young Blacks who were involved in significant events in the civil rights movement, including Brown vs. Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the sit-in movement.

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About the Author:

Belinda Rochelle is the author of Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights, Jewels, and When Jo Louis Won the Title. In addition to her authorship, she has worked as a lobbyist for women’s organizations in Washington, DC.

From Booklist:

Gr. 4-7. Although for a younger audience than Levine's Freedom's Children (1993), this has the same focus on ordinary people in the civil-rights movement, especially the young people. Beginning with descriptions of several struggles to desegregate the schools, Rochelle then devotes a chapter each to the Montgomery Bus boycott, the sit-in movement, the freedom riders, the Children's Crusade in Birmingham, the March on Washington, and the struggle for voting rights in Selma. Each chapter starts with an immediate dramatic focus on one young person's experience and then moves out to the wider issues and the political struggle. The transitions aren't always smooth, but the design is accessible, with dramatic photographs that capture the confrontation and the courage of the children who took part. Each chapter also has a boxed first-person profile by someone who was young at the time. Perhaps the most moving is the quiet narrative by Claudette Colvin, the shy teenager who one day decided she'd had enough and refused to get out of her bus seat for a white man. Sheyann Webb remembers how, as a small girl, it was her church that moved her to march in Selma. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a powerful presence, so is Rosa Parks, but the big story here is about all those who worked together. Rochelle lists sources and a bibliography that will help kids to follow up on the personal stories. Hazel Rochman

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