It's Black History month, so here's a post with books about the Civil Rights movement. For more Civil Rights, be sure to check out my list for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Rosa Parks was not the first African American to be arrested in Montgomery for not giving up her seat. Claudette Colvin was. But, unlike Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin did not spark a movement and is not a household name. Hoose tells her story, and gives a close-up look at how the Montgomery Bus Boycott really started.
My Mother the Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow. "Cheerleaders" were the people who shouted racial slurs at Ruby Bridges as she tried to integrate the school. Louise's mother is one and Louise is pulled out of class to join her. But when a stranger from the North comes down to stay at their boarding house, old family secrets are going to come out that change everything.
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Starting with the end of the Civil War, and going through today, Bartoletti traces the history and motivations of the Klan, from it's beginnings as a social club, to its gruesome heyday of terror and beyond.
Birmingham 1963: How a Photograph Rallied Civil Rights Support by Shelley Tougas. I love the Captured History series in how they trace the history of a photograph--from the photographer to the subject to the context in which it was taken and the effect it had on the world. The image of three people plastered against a wall by the force of a fire house is one that's stayed with us for a reason. Check out others in the series as well, such as Little Rock Girl 1957
To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Hunter-Gault desegregated UGA. An Atlanta native, she was witness to many major events in the Civil Rights movement. Probably most poignant is her desire to participate, but being unable to, knowing that would end her quest to attend UGA, which was also an important battle to be fought and won. This memoir also traces her career in journalism after graduation-- back when it was rare to have reporter be a female or an African American, let alone both.
Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers. This is the chilling and true story of how Mississippi politicians and government organizations set up their own spy rings to infiltrate and inform on Civil Rights organizations, to try to bring them down.
Guardian by Julius Lester. It ends in the lynching of an innocent man. Ansel and Willie are friends, despite their racial differences, but when a white girl is murdered and the actual killer will go free because his family owns the town, everything changes.
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals. Beals was one of the Little Rock 9 and this is her story. Taunted, threatened, and physically attacked just for going to school, Beals's story is one that will still rock teens today.
Fire from the Rock by Sharon Draper. A good one to read with Warriors Don't Cry and My Mother the Cheerleader, this is a fictionalized account of the integration of Little Rock's Central High School. Sylvia is torn between being one of the Little Rock 9, and staying at her current school where it's safer and she can focus on her education instead of her role in changing history.
What are your Civil Rights must read titles?
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