Thursday, July 30, 2015

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

There is a lot of interest in the Selma voting rights march and this memoir makes Selma and the preceding marches come alive from the perspective of a young person. Lynda Blackmon was actively participating in civil rights protests in Selma before the famous march to Montgomery. In this memoir she talks about how those marches were organized and how her black teachers helped students leave school to participate. Lynda was jailed numerous times and often was fearful, but she continued to participate and was supported by her family and friends. She was beaten on Bloody Sunday, and then became the youngest person to march all the way from Selma to Montgomery. It was on that march that she turned 15 years old. This story is told in the first person and is easy to read. It is written in chapters but it reads like a personal essay. Students as young as fifth graders will have no problem understanding Lynda's story and will learn a great deal about the events surrounding the Selma march, including the deaths of Jimmie Lee Jackson and Viola Liuzzo. This would be an excellent addition to a middle school Civil Rights unit.

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