Middle School Monday – Remembering Black History Month

Regardless of the percentage of patrons you serve who happen to be of African American descent, it’s important to remember and celebrate Black History month. Unfortunately, the library might be the only place some of your middle school patrons encounter it. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent, engaging books which detail various aspects of […]

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Regardless of the percentage of patrons you serve who happen to be of African American descent, it’s important to remember and celebrate Black History month. Unfortunately, the library might be the only place some of your middle school patrons encounter it. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent, engaging books which detail various aspects of the African American experience. See below for a selection of the most popular from my library’s collection.

51DVNSS8C1L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Freedom riders : John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum

From the publisher:

John Lewis and Jim Zwerg were young men who came together for a cause. They boarded a bus and headed south, armed with nothing but their idealism, courage, and belief in justice.

When they reached Montgomery, Alabama, John and Jim met a mob armed with chains, bats, and hammers. They were both badly beaten by the mob—Jim nearly to death—simply because they had ridden together on the bus.

John Lewis was black, and Jim Zwerg was white.

It was 1961.

It was 1961, and the world was a different place. It was a world that John Lewis and Jim Zwerg and hundreds of others would fight to change. The Freedom Rides were a central part of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s that fought to win equal rights for African Americans. It was a bloody and difficult battle. It was fought on one side by policemen and private citizens who used dogs, fire hoses, guns, and burning crosses. It was fought on the other side by protesters who used marches, songs, signs, and nonviolence. It was a battle the Freedom Riders helped win.

In compelling detail, Ann Bausum relates a story that alternately chills and inspires. She captures both the black and the white perspective on the Freedom Rides and segregation, through the eyes and experiences of John Lewis and Jim Zwerg. She describes how justice ultimately emerged from hatred and discrimination in a period of American history that did indeed change the world.

9780792278863_xlg5000 miles to freedom : Ellen and William Craft’s flight from slavery by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin

From the publisher:

On December 21, 1848, a Southern gentleman and his slave boarded a train in Macon, Georgia, bound for Philadelphia. Or so it seemed. They were, in fact, two slaves on a daring, broad-daylight escape. Light-skinned Ellen Craft was dressed as the “gentleman”; her husband William was her “slave.” It was 1,000 miles to get to the North, but their journey to freedom would be much farther than that.

9781426305962_viewSpies of Mississippi : the true story of the spy agency that tried to destroy the civil rights movement by Rick Bowers

From the publisher:

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission compiled secret files on more than 87,000 private citizens in the most extensive state spying program in U.S. history. Its mission: to save segregation.

9781423142577_xlgHand in hand : ten Black men who changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney

From the publisher:

Hand in Hand presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. The stories are accessible, fully-drawn narratives offering the subjects’ childhood influences, the time and place in which they lived, their accomplishments and motivations, and the legacies they left for future generations as links in the “freedom chain.”

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