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

Calkins Creek. Sept. 2020. 44p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781629794525.
Gr 1-4–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.

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