Monday, January 22, 2007

Freedom Walkers

In between listening to the Chicago Bears/New Orleans Saints game yesterday (*sob*) and watching the snow fall, I finished Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

While Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr are definitely prominently featured in the book, the book also gives a lot of notice to the lesser known participants in the movement, including the local citizenry.

Two things struck me when I was reading this: 1) how young Martin Luther King Jr was when he emerged as the prominent leader of the movement and 2) that the success of the boycott stemmed from everyone getting the word out and staying determined to boycott the buses until the segregation order was changed. This involved hours of mimeographing flyers and other pieces of information, which could have caused the school to lose federal funding if they were caught, careful organization of carpooling and routes, regular meetings at churches to inform and rally the community, and six months of walking or waiting for car rides (risking being pulled over by police for minor or imaginary transgressions). This was an incredible undertaking by the African-American Montgomery community and sympathetic outside supporters. The main strength of this book is that the reader gets a very clear understanding of the struggle, committment, and hardship of the bus boycott.

The ALA media awards will be announced in 1 hour and 4 minutes. I will be back to update the blog with the news and with links to the books in our catalog.

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