Friday, January 12, 2007

One of the Best

Freedman, Russell. 2006. Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Russell Freedman is an award-winning, well-respected author of nonfiction books for children and young adults. You can always count on him to tell both an informational (and accurate) and interesting story. FREEDOM WALKERS is the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott an important and significant event within the Civil Rights Movement. The introduction and first two chapters provide readers with necessary background information in regards to how African-Americans were treated in the South. In particular the first two chapters present the stories of Jo Ann Robinson and Claudette Colvin who also made a stand in regards to segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama. However, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until Rosa Parks that African-American leaders in the city decided to make this personal struggle into a plea for racial unity to passively stand and fight for justice. Chapters three through seven tell the story of Rosa Parks and other key individuals involved in starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott and seeing it through to the end. What was the Montgomery Bus Boycott? For those that don’t know it is when African-Americans decided that it would be better to walk to work--no matter how great the distance--than to face discrimination and prejudice by riding the buses. Why should they pay the bus system to be treated unjustly? In addition to walking, a complex system of carpooling was organized. Both African American and white citizens participated in this carpool system. The boycott was successful. Due to their rallying at churches across the city, all of the buses were empty--empty of African-American passengers who formerly made up the bulk of their passengers. In response, city officials urged whites to ride the buses to keep the business alive, but found it harder to gain support. Many whites viewed traveling by buses below them since they had their own cars. Although facing financial hardship or even ruin, the city remained firm on its policy. They would not even begin to consider comprimising with African-American leaders. They even responded with violence. But Martin Luther King, Jr. urged African-Americans to above all remain nonviolent and act in Christianly love. This drama was also played out in several courtrooms across the country. Leaders knew that this local incident would eventually become a national issue in the Supreme Court. Knowing that the South would never side in favor of justice for African Americans, they hoped for justice on the national level. Chapter eight concludes with the follow up story of the Civil Rights movement in the sixties and seventies. Well-researched, Russell Freedman uses photographs and primary sources to document an important time in American history. Includes chapter notes (foot notes), selected bibliography, and index.

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