Coretta Scott King

Philomel. (She Persisted). Jan. 2022. 80p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593353509; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593353523.
Gr 3-5–This book profiles the uplifting voice of an activist worth recognizing in her own right. While the impact and narrative arc of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s accomplishments are frequently highlighted in classrooms, this book acts as an eye-opening primer to how Coretta Scott was champion of the people. The through line of King’s life was her unshakable faith in her religion and humanity, from observing her parents’ quiet resilience against racism to the dedication she exhibited in the dark days following her husband’s murder. The book explains in no uncertain terms how King and Black people everywhere were continually discriminated against, not only in clear exhibitions of slurs and violence, but implicitly in conversations King had with college classmates where she was claimed to be a “credit” to her race. The book’s inclusion of these details emphasizes how prejudice can shape minds and institutions at any time, and how it is something that must be continually addressed. Although the book comes in at a breezy 48 pages (with illustrations) and provides all the biographical strata of facts, figures, and dates, Lyons manages to weave in a healthy amount of emotion into this account. Readers feel for King’s struggles and celebrates her successes, and through it all the text is buoyed by quotes taken straight from the freedom fighter herself. Speaking after the assassination of her husband, she said, “In his death, there is hope for redemption.”
VERDICT A brief but effective account of not-often-taught figure that would nicely complement curriculum units on the Civil Rights Movement.

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