Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary

Partridge, Elizabeth. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. Viking, 2009. 80pp. Lexile 960.

“The first time Joanne Blackmon was arrested, she was just ten years old,” opens this powerful tribute to young people who participated in the Civil Rights movement.  Blackmon was arrested when she accompanied her grandmother who was trying to register to vote as an African-American in Selma, Alabama, in 1963.  From this gripping incident, Partridge takes readers to 1965, when Martin Luther King, Jr., came to Selma to further the cause.  Based in part on extensive interviews, the book dramatically documents the role of children and teenagers in protest marches where they were attacked by dogs, tear gas, clubs, and even cattle prods.  Three thousand young people were arrested, yet they continued to practice non-violence.  Their fear and determination come across in the narrative, quotes, and photographs, some of which show the violence.  Notes, bibliography, index.  A remarkable book about the role of courageous young people in our history.

Reading Std #2: Determine central ideas or themes and analyze their development; summarize key supporting details and ideas.  One key theme throughout this moving book is the role of music including spirituals and protest songs in keeping up the spirits of the young people involved.  Have students find specific evidence of this theme to see how Partridge develops it.

Reading Std #9 for grades 6-8: Compare/contrast texts on similar themes or topics.:  Pair this with Cynthia Levinson's. We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March. (Peachtree, 2012) to see how the two authors address similar material about children involved in civil rights.