In 1951, a high school junior named Barbara Rose Johns led her classmates at Robert R. Moton High School, the segregated black high school in Farmville, Virginia, on a peaceful boycott to protest the poor conditions at their school. The strike ended two weeks later when the NAACP filed a petition with the Prince Edward County school board demanding integration of all public schools. Kanefield, author of Rivka’s Way (Cricket Books, 2001) brings this little-known story to life with a gripping
text and well-selected photographs that draw on careful research and many interviews with Johns’ family members, friends, and civil rights scholars. It is a complicated story with
devastating results: the local school board disbanded all public schools from 1959-1964 rather than desegregate. Clear writing illuminates both the local and national civil rights history and depicts an inspiring heroine whose youth and quiet resolve give this story particular resonance for young readers. Back matter includes index, endnotes, image credits, acknowledgments, and discussion of sources.
Elizabeth Overmyer, Independent
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