November 22, 2017

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The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum | SLJ Review

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redstarBAUSUM, Ann. The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power. 144p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. National Geographic. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781426326653; lib. ed. $27.90. ISBN 9781426326660.

march-against-fearGr 9 Up –An edifying and timely exposition of James Meredith and the March Against Fear and their impact on U.S. history, past and present. Bausum’s clear language and smart use of archival photos and pull quotes document how Meredith’s single-man walk transformed into a larger endeavor to register and unify black voters and to alleviate the fear felt by African Americans living in a racist society (a notion that would later translate to the concept of Black Power). Readers become a part of the march as Bausum begins each chapter with the date, the distance traveled by the marchers, and their next destination. Evocative quotes from those supporting the march and those in opposition provide additional context on the sentiment felt by each side. The inclusion of racial epithets, curses, and horrific abuse emphasizes the reality of the time (an author’s note explains the decision not to alter the language of quotations). Bausum expertly encapsulates the overall theme of the march during a specific episode at the Philadelphia, MS, courthouse: “Dignity over anarchy. Justice over injustice. Love in answer to hate.” In the back matter, Bausum discusses her research, which included interviewing Meredith, and how civil rights remain a pertinent issue. VERDICT A must-have volume on James Meredith, the March Against Fear, and the evolution of Black Power for high school students.–Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2016 issue.

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