Books: Non-Fiction

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Book — Non-fiction. By Russell Freedman. 2006. 114 pages.
Written for middle school, the grassroots history of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1945
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing

Freedom Walkersfor upper elementary and middle school, tells the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which Rosa Parks played a role but was not the sole hero. Russell Freedman presents all the key personalities and events that contributed to the yearlong struggle, a major victory in the Civil Rights Movement.

Freedman begins this outstanding history by reminding his audience that the injustices of racial segregation did not happen that long ago in the United States. Throughout the book, he gives accounts of how much coordination and sacrifice went into conducting the Montgomery Bus Boycott — far more than students are likely to imagine from the usual popular and oversimplified versions offered in textbooks and on television. There is a refreshing emphasis on depictions of regular people and forgotten local crusaders working together to make the boycott possible and triumphant, from inspiring descriptions of drivers getting up at dawn to take others to work to accounts of well-known civil-rights lawyers working to find the right plaintiff to challenge unjust laws. Freedman’s prose style pulls readers into the narrative, integrating the actual recorded words and deeds of the people to tell the story. The high-quality, black-and-white photographs range from everyday scenes of African-American boycotters meeting, waiting for carpools, and protesting to representations of more famous figures, such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. Extensive chapter notes, an annotated selected bibliography, and a thorough index round out the exemplary presentation. Pair this volume with Ann Bausum’s Freedom Riders (National Geographic) and Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa (Holt, both 2005) for a powerful introduction to the Civil Rights Movement.” —Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn Public Library, NY in the School Library Journal

ISBN: 9780823420315 | Holiday House

3 comments on “Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

  1. Barbara Martin-Dowell on

    Students should be given the whole story of history. To leave out any of these lessons is to leave out sugar in a cake!

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