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The Teachers March!: How Selma's Teachers Changed History



by
Sandra Neil Wallace ,Rich Wallace
illustrated by
Charly Palmer

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Calkins Creek
Imprint
Print
ISBN
9781629794525
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
$14.25
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Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March, featuring evocative illustrations and eyewitness testimonies.

Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs—and perhaps their lives—by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members in order to tell this important story.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

44

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Dewey

323.1196

AR

4.5: points 0.5

Lexile

700L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Dec 2020

Book Genres

Nonfic

Topics

The Selma Teachers’ March, 1965. Frederick D. Reese (1929–2018). Selma, Alabama. Segregation. The US civil rights movement. Protests. Teachers. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

This picture book captures the true story of the African American teachers who marched in Selma, AL, to fight for African Americans’ right to vote. Firsthand interviews with organizers, marchers, and onlookers craft the event that helped change history. Reverend F.D. Reese, a civil rights advocate and science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School, led marchers to the courthouse to register to vote. They were beaten and blocked from entering the courthouse. However, Reese would not back down. “If the teachers marched, people would notice, and change would come,” he thought. Reese wrote to Martin Luther King Jr., inviting him to speak at Brown Chapel. King told the congregation that they shouldn’t be afraid of getting arrested for defending their right to vote. On January 22, 1965, 105 teachers risked their jobs, their families, and jail time to make their voices heard. At the top of the Dallas County Courthouse steps, they were met by Sheriff Clark and his deputies, who pushed the teachers back down to the bottom. Reese and the teachers got back up and marched up the steps, again and again. This brave march paved the way for other groups to step up and stand tall. This inspiring title shows how the actions of everyday citizens can drive change. Palmer’s powerful illustrations bring additional depth and necessary perspective to the subject. VERDICT A necessary addition to every library and history curriculum. Every reader should know about this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.–Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elem. Sch., Warren, MI

Horn Book

The 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery is well known, especially with the recent death of leader John Lewis, which brought renewed attention to the historic event. Less known is the teachers’ march (which happened six weeks before), as part of the larger voting rights struggle in Selma. This book dramatizes how the teachers planned their protest, risking imprisonment and violence, leaving the classroom and taking to the streets, holding “their toothbrushes in the air, ready to go to jail for freedom.” The lively text incorporates lots of dialogue (sources indicated in the back matter), making for dramatic reading, and in particular weaving in the narrative of fifteen-year-old Joyce Parrish and her mother. But the illustrations are the star here, with Palmer’s beautifully lit acrylic-on-board paintings that are at times impressionistic or, as he writes in the illustrator’s note, “abstract and primal.” He effectively plays with perspective—an upward view of Brown Chapel, following the spires to the sky, and a double-page spread showing legs and feet with polished shoes marching down the street. The selected bibliography mainly includes adult books, but many excellent books for young people are available, including Partridge’s Marching for Freedom (rev. 11/09), Lewis’s March: Book Three (rev. 9/16), and Freedman’s Because They Marched (rev. 9/14). A strong addition to the literature on a pivotal event in civil rights history. DEAN SCHNEIDER

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

This picture book captures the true story of the African American teachers who marched in Selma, AL, to fight for African Americans’ right to vote. Firsthand interviews with organizers, marchers, and onlookers craft the event that helped change history. Reverend F.D. Reese, a civil rights advocate and science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School, led marchers to the courthouse to register to vote. They were beaten and blocked from entering the courthouse. However, Reese would not back down. “If the teachers marched, people would notice, and change would come,” he thought. Reese wrote to Martin Luther King Jr., inviting him to speak at Brown Chapel. King told the congregation that they shouldn’t be afraid of getting arrested for defending their right to vote. On January 22, 1965, 105 teachers risked their jobs, their families, and jail time to make their voices heard. At the top of the Dallas County Courthouse steps, they were met by Sheriff Clark and his deputies, who pushed the teachers back down to the bottom. Reese and the teachers got back up and marched up the steps, again and again. This brave march paved the way for other groups to step up and stand tall. This inspiring title shows how the actions of everyday citizens can drive change. Palmer’s powerful illustrations bring additional depth and necessary perspective to the subject. VERDICT A necessary addition to every library and history curriculum. Every reader should know about this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.–Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elem. Sch., Warren, MI

Horn Book

The 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery is well known, especially with the recent death of leader John Lewis, which brought renewed attention to the historic event. Less known is the teachers’ march (which happened six weeks before), as part of the larger voting rights struggle in Selma. This book dramatizes how the teachers planned their protest, risking imprisonment and violence, leaving the classroom and taking to the streets, holding “their toothbrushes in the air, ready to go to jail for freedom.” The lively text incorporates lots of dialogue (sources indicated in the back matter), making for dramatic reading, and in particular weaving in the narrative of fifteen-year-old Joyce Parrish and her mother. But the illustrations are the star here, with Palmer’s beautifully lit acrylic-on-board paintings that are at times impressionistic or, as he writes in the illustrator’s note, “abstract and primal.” He effectively plays with perspective—an upward view of Brown Chapel, following the spires to the sky, and a double-page spread showing legs and feet with polished shoes marching down the street. The selected bibliography mainly includes adult books, but many excellent books for young people are available, including Partridge’s Marching for Freedom (rev. 11/09), Lewis’s March: Book Three (rev. 9/16), and Freedman’s Because They Marched (rev. 9/14). A strong addition to the literature on a pivotal event in civil rights history. DEAN SCHNEIDER

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