Teachers March! : How Selma's Teachers Changed History
by Wallace, Sandra Neil; Wallace, Rich; Palmer, Charly (ILT)


&; "An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers' March.

Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs-and perhaps their lives-by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the Black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members in order to tell this story, which is especially important today.

Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace are award-winning writers of nonfiction titles including First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great and Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, which won the International Literacy Association's Social Justice Award and a YALSA Award nomination for Excellence in Nonfiction. Sandra's picture-book biography Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery is the NCTE 2019 Orbis Pictus winner for Outstanding Nonfiction.

Charly Palmer is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. He also teaches design, illustration, and painting, most recently at Spelman College. His two recent picture books are There's a Dragon in My Closet and Mama Africa, which won the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.

*Starred Review* This stunningly powerful book by a team of award-winning creators should be part of every classroom library and teacher-preparation program. It's the true story of the Reverend F. D. Reese, who taught high school science-as well as freedom and equality. He led by example, organizing marches in Selma to push for voting rights for African Americans. Seeking a more powerful angle, he decided that if the schoolteachers of Selma marched together, they could make a noticeable statement. The narrative provides an unvarnished view of the deep levels of racism and violence that permeated society and aimed to thwart civil rights activism in the 1960s. The Wallaces pack their account with well-researched details so that readers get to know Reverend Reese and others as people as well as activists, and Palmer's vibrant acrylic paintings intensify the urgency of the moment. A particularly striking spread depicts the crowd of teachers brandishing their toothbrushes, symbolizing their readiness to go to jail for freedom if need be. The marching teachers inspired other groups-beauticians, barbers, undertakers-to organize, but most significantly, they inspired students to participate. A timely testament to the power of collectivism and the continued need for widespread civic engagement. Grades 3-5. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

In 1965, a group of 104 teachers led by the Rev. F.D. Reese peacefully marched to the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama, demanding Black citizens' right to register to vote. Reese, a science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School as well as pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, got the idea of a teachers march while walking the halls of his school. After a recent march at which he and several other participants were beaten and turned away from the county courthouse, he decided that the way to make people take notice was to have teachers, the "somebody somebodies of the community," stand up and fight for their rights. After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on television, Reese wrote a letter to Dr. King asking him to come to Selma to speak, and he did. After Dr. King's address before 700 people at Brown Chapel, the teachers took to the streets protesting for their right to vote. This little-known march during the civil rights era is considered the catalyst for the other marches that shortly followed. This book does a masterful job of detailing the impetus for the teachers march. It is clearly communicated that the march was not spontaneous bu t carefully thought out—down to the teachers' packing food and toothbrushes in case they were arrested. Palmer's brushy paintings are full of color, detail, and emotion. The narrative is well paced and will work brilliantly as a read-aloud for patient, older preschoolers and early elementary–age children, and it should spark many a conversation about race and protest. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.) An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events. (author's note, illustrator's note, timeline, bibliography, sites to visit) (Informational picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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