Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Speaking out: The Civil Rights Movement 1950-1964

Speaking out: The Civil Rights Movement 1950-1964

Kevin Supples
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
National Geographic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0792282792

America in the 1950's was a prosperous place, a place of opportunity. At least it was if you were from the right racial background. If you were African American however, things were very different. This was especially the case in the South where segregation of the races was maintained by cruel Jim Crow Laws. Because of these laws African Americans and whites ate, worked, learned, traveled, played, and lived separately. Though there were no official Jim Crow laws in the North, segregation still existed there. African Americans had to content themselves with having inferior jobs, and schools, and they had to accept that they could not have all the freedoms and rights that whites took for granted.

There came a time however when some members of the African American community decided that they had had enough. What came to be called the Civil Rights Movement had its beginnings in the early 1900?s when people such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary McLeod Bethune tried to find ways to win equal rights for African Americans. Then WWII arrived and young African American men went off to war to fight for the rights and liberties that they were not allowed to have at home. When they got back things, at least in their hearts and minds, had changed and they were ready to fight the system.

Readers of this excellent account will learn all about the principal people and organizations which fought to give African Americans the same rights that their white neighbors had. The NAACP, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcom X all fought to bring about this change. Full of quotes, annotated photographs, and with a powerful and thought-provoking text, this is a book which every child should have the opportunity to read.