Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era

Nomad. (The Civil Rights Era). Oct. 2020. 112p. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781619309241; pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781619309272.
Gr 6-9–A solid introduction to the politics of the civil rights movement. In five chapters, readers gain a concise but clear understanding of the history of Jim Crow in the South; Emmett Till’s murder in Mississippi, which sparked the movement; the 1957 Brown v. Board of Education decision and the desegregation of schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the Fair Housing Act of 1968; and the Black Power movement and a very brief mention of the current #BlackLivesMatter movement. Cummings provides an unbiased examination of the four presidential administrations, outlining their strengths and weaknesses in guiding the country through this period. The format is useful for reluctant readers, with a detailed glossary, a straightforward narrative, and numerous sidebars listing fast facts. For those looking for further information, there are several side project ideas and a lengthy bibliography. There are two noticeable issues that may give librarians and educators pause. The mention of Rep. John Lewis as a young activist doesn’t state he went on to become a national civil rights leader and U.S. congressman. Also, the unusual choice of photographs often doesn’t match the related text. Most of the photos in the chapter about Brown v. Board of Education are labeled 1959, while most of that time line takes place in 1957.
VERDICT A serviceable monograph for libraries looking to update their civil rights collection, despite flaws with editing.

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