Only forty-five years ago in Selma, Alabama and surrounding counties, African-Americans were systematically kept from voting through the biased use of poll taxes and citizenship tests. If those stumbling blocks did not deter a persistent black, loss of employment and Klan violence were threatened. As a result, Dallas County, Alabama's voter rolls were ninety-nine percent white. In nearby Lowndes County, not only were there no black votes, there had been none for sixty-five years in a county that was nearly eighty percent black. In 1965, the year after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, Selma blacks decided it was time to challenge the system. White supremacists fought back violently. The bloodshed shown on network television shocked the nation. Noted children's author Elizabeth Partridge tells the story in Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary.
Marching for Freedom is the kind of children's book that should also move many adults. Partridge combines the stories of many people who were children at the time to tell of their experiences, including meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the famous march from Selma to Montgomery. In tandem with vintage black and white photos of the determined marchers and the attacks by police, the stories remind us that blatant racism and disregard for justice are still part of our recent memory. March for Freedom should be in all public libraries.
Partridge, Elizabeth. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. Viking 2009. ISBN 9780670011896.