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Reviews for We are your children too

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An African American teen organizes a student strike because of poor conditions at her school and triggers a countywide battle for equal education. Barbara Johns was concerned about the education she and her fellow high school students were receiving in their run-down, ill-equipped school in rural Prince Edward County, Virginia, in 1950. There was a dearth of books and even buses to get them to school. The local school board made no effort to improve schools attended by Black students. Barbara, 16, led strike efforts, supported by the local chapter of the NAACP. Many Black adults feared retaliation from Whites, and there were in fact efforts at intimidation after the NAACP filed a lawsuit on the students’ behalf. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional, Prince Edward County officials embarked on a campaign to resist complying that closed public schools in the county for five years; White students were educated privately through state funds. The drive to provide universal educational opportunities was an uphill climb for the county’s African Americans and their White allies. This is a detailed and dramatic depiction, rich in context, of the price a small community paid for seeking equality. It demonstrates the resilience of those who fought segregation while never downplaying how much was lost, and it provides evidence of ways the damage continues to have an impact today. A sobering study of the struggle for educational equity. (photo credits, timeline, selected bibliography, recommended reading, endnotes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.