Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

Published by Dial Books

Summary:  “By the time I was fifteen years old, I had been in jail nine times.”  So begins Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s memoir of growing up in Selma, Alabama.  What heinous crimes had she committed to have spent so much time in jail?  Joining the marches to give blacks in Alabama the right to vote.  Lynda turned 15 on the Selma to Montgomery march in March, 1965.  The youngest member of the group of 300 that made the trip, she wanted to go so that she could show George Wallace the bandages she still had from the beating she received on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, protesting the murder of activist Jimmie Lee Jackson.  “You have a voice, too,” Blackmun concludes her story, “and with determination, you can be a history maker, just like me.”

Pros:  With the movie Selma, the events of fifty years ago are in the news again.  This is a powerful introduction for kids and teens, told by a girl just like them, who found the courage over and over again to speak out for what she believed in.

Cons:  Although there is nothing terribly graphic, some of the stories may be disturbing to younger kids.  There should definitely be some discussion and historical context to go along with reading this book.

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