The Little Rock Nine: Struggle for Integration
Ages 10 to 12
Compass Point Books, 2006, 0-7565-2001-8
Imagine what it would be like to go to a mediocre school simply because you happened to be born with a black skin. Imagine not being able to go to any school you wanted to go to even if you were clever and hard working and keen to get a good education. For many black students in the south this was what they had to deal with every day. Even after schools were ordered to integrate after the Brown vs. The Board of Education Supreme Court case was decided upon, schools in the south were strictly color coded. Those who tried to break through this color barrier found themselves up against a seemingly impenetrable wall of racism.
This is the story of nine young people who with the help of their families, their community, and civil rights leaders broke through that barrier. It was a terrible ordeal for them. All they wanted to do was to have the chance to go to a decent high school and in the end President Eisenhower had to call in the 101st Airborne Guards to protect the young people from violent crowds who were eager to hurt or even kill these students as they tried to go to school.
In this often disturbing book young readers will come to appreciate how lucky they are to live in a world where black and white children can go to school together without being harassed. Readers will meet the nine young people who had the courage to face the mob in Little Rock, Arkansas. They will get to know their families and the other people in their lives who tried to help them through this time.
Well written and full of personal touches about the lives of the principal characters, this account should be required reading for every school child in the United States, for within its pages young readers will discover that children can indeed take a stand and make a difference.
This is one of the titles in the “Snapshots in History” series.
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