30 Jun 2011
- Written by Terry Schlichenmeyer
Special to the Tri-State Defender
You are an observant kid. You pay attention.
For awhile now, you’ve listened to the news and you’ve got opinions. You know what you’d do about war if you were president. You’ve got ideas on how to stop poverty, hunger, and other world problems.
|‘Marching for Freedom:|
Walk Together, Children,
and Don’t You Grow Weary’
by Elizabeth Partridge,
performed by Alan Bomar Jones
c. 2010, Brilliance Audio
$24.99 / $30.99 Canada
2 CDs / under 2 hrs, plus bonus disc
Spend some time listening to “Marching For Freedom,” the new audiobook by Elizabeth Partridge, performed by Alan Bomar Jones. You’ll see that you don’t have to be an adult to cause change.
Ten-year-old Joanne Blackmon was baffled. Her grandma only wanted to register to vote, but the sign on the courthouse read “closed.” Joann and her grandmother waited and were soon joined by others who wanted to register, too.
By the end of the day, a yellow school bus pulled up and Joanne was excited. Only white kids rode the school bus and now they were telling her to hop aboard! It took a few minutes before she realized that she was on her way to jail.
Over the next two years, Joanne would be jailed ten more times.
Because African-American adults had to go to work, it was often up to kids and teenagers to stage protests over civil rights. Everybody knew it could be dangerous. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worried about that, but he also knew that these children could send a powerful message.
And that’s what happened in Selma, Ala., in March of 1965.
Hundreds of men, women, and children marched quietly to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to win the right to vote. Joanne was there, along with state troopers, tear gas, cattle prods, and people determined to turn the protesters back.
But the protesters held steady. They marched despite the danger and were met with violence, but they didn’t stop. The march was too important. Joanne Blackmon was badly hurt. Her sister thought she was dead. But when it was over five days later, everyday children like Joanne had helped win the vote.
I found a lot of things to love about “Marching for Freedom,” starting with author Elizabeth Partridge’s writing.
Partridge doesn’t editorialize in this book; she merely lays out facts and tells the story. She did so, she says in the interview at the end of the last CD, because she was amazed at the pictures she found, taken at the Selma March.
And even though this is an audiobook, you won’t miss a one of those pictures. Included in the box with the CDs is a bonus disc filled with that which inspired Partridge to write this book. Be warned: some of them are very moving.
Then, the pictures are punctuated with an incredible performance by Alan Bomar Jones, who not only reads Partridge’s words, but who sings the protest songs that accompanied the protesters more than forty-five years ago.
“Marching for Freedom” is probably too scary for young kids, but for children ages 10 and up, I think it’s perfect. Start the audio, let them see the pictures, and you’ll easily have their attention.