The Teachers March!: How Selma's Teachers Changed History
The Teachers March!: How Selma's Teachers Changed History

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Annotation: Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs--and perhaps their lives--by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the Black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed
Genre: Government
Catalog Number: #219633
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 44
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-629-79452-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8396-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-629-79452-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8396-5
Dewey: 323
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
In 1965, a group of 104 teachers led by the Rev. F.D. Reese peacefully marched to the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama, demanding Black citizens’ right to register to vote.Reese, a science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School as well as pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, got the idea of a teachers march while walking the halls of his school. After a recent march at which he and several other participants were beaten and turned away from the county courthouse, he decided that the way to make people take notice was to have teachers, the “somebody somebodies of the community,” stand up and fight for their rights. After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on television, Reese wrote a letter to Dr. King asking him to come to Selma to speak, and he did. After Dr. King’s address before 700 people at Brown Chapel, the teachers took to the streets protesting for their right to vote. This little-known march during the civil rights era is considered the catalyst for the other marches that shortly followed. This book does a masterful job of detailing the impetus for the teachers march. It is clearly communicated that the march was not spontaneous but carefully thought out—down to the teachers’ packing food and toothbrushes in case they were arrested. Palmer’s brushy paintings are full of color, detail, and emotion. The narrative is well paced and will work brilliantly as a read-aloud for patient, older preschoolers and early elementary–age children, and it should spark many a conversation about race and protest. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, timeline, bibliography, sites to visit) (Informational picture book. 5-8)
Publishers Weekly
Donating a portion of their proceeds to institutions in Selma, Ala., the married coauthors present a vivid nonfiction narrative that illuminates the January 1965 Teachers- March to Selma-s Dallas County Courthouse. By highlighting and interweaving the journeys of a few specific people-Rev. F.D. Reese, who led marchers to register to vote; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who visited Selma to speak on voting rights; and Too Sweet, a teacher and single mother who joined the march-the Wallaces eloquently portray the vitality of the group effort as well as the high risk involved in participating in the initial and subsequent Selma marches. Abstract, multilayered acrylic paintings by Palmer ground readers in the action, such as a moving scene in which lines of teachers march. This well-researched picture book proves riveting in its telling of how everyday heroes led a fight that resulted in the Voting Rights Act. Back matter includes creators- notes, a timeline, a selected bibliography, and further resources. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 14 This picture book captures the true story of the African American teachers who marched in Selma, AL, to fight for African Americans' right to vote. Firsthand interviews with organizers, marchers, and onlookers craft the event that helped change history. Reverend F.D. Reese, a civil rights advocate and science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School, led marchers to the courthouse to register to vote. They were beaten and blocked from entering the courthouse. However, Reese would not back down. "If the teachers marched, people would notice, and change would come," he thought. Reese wrote to Martin Luther King Jr., inviting him to speak at Brown Chapel. King told the congregation that they shouldn't be afraid of getting arrested for defending their right to vote. On January 22, 1965, 105 teachers risked their jobs, their families, and jail time to make their voices heard. At the top of the Dallas County Courthouse steps, they were met by Sheriff Clark and his deputies, who pushed the teachers back down to the bottom. Reese and the teachers got back up and marched up the steps, again and again. This brave march paved the way for other groups to step up and stand tall. This inspiring title shows how the actions of everyday citizens can drive change. Palmer's powerful illustrations bring additional depth and necessary perspective to the subject. VERDICT A necessary addition to every library and history curriculum. Every reader should know about this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elem. Sch., Warren, MI
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
In 1965, a group of 104 teachers led by the Rev. F.D. Reese peacefully marched to the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama, demanding Black citizens’ right to register to vote.Reese, a science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School as well as pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, got the idea of a teachers march while walking the halls of his school. After a recent march at which he and several other participants were beaten and turned away from the county courthouse, he decided that the way to make people take notice was to have teachers, the “somebody somebodies of the community,” stand up and fight for their rights. After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on television, Reese wrote a letter to Dr. King asking him to come to Selma to speak, and he did. After Dr. King’s address before 700 people at Brown Chapel, the teachers took to the streets protesting for their right to vote. This little-known march during the civil rights era is considered the catalyst for the other marches that shortly followed. This book does a masterful job of detailing the impetus for the teachers march. It is clearly communicated that the march was not spontaneous but carefully thought out—down to the teachers’ packing food and toothbrushes in case they were arrested. Palmer’s brushy paintings are full of color, detail, and emotion. The narrative is well paced and will work brilliantly as a read-aloud for patient, older preschoolers and early elementary–age children, and it should spark many a conversation about race and protest. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, timeline, bibliography, sites to visit) (Informational picture book. 5-8)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This stunningly powerful book by a team of award-winning creators should be part of every classroom library and teacher-preparation program. It's the true story of the Reverend F. D. Reese, who taught high school science well as freedom and equality. He led by example, organizing marches in Selma to push for voting rights for African Americans. Seeking a more powerful angle, he decided that if the schoolteachers of Selma marched together, they could make a noticeable statement. The narrative provides an unvarnished view of the deep levels of racism and violence that permeated society and aimed to thwart civil rights activism in the 1960s. The Wallaces pack their account with well-researched details so that readers get to know Reverend Reese and others as people as well as activists, and Palmer's vibrant acrylic paintings intensify the urgency of the moment. A particularly striking spread depicts the crowd of teachers brandishing their toothbrushes, symbolizing their readiness to go to jail for freedom if need be. The marching teachers inspired other groups auticians, barbers, undertakers organize, but most significantly, they inspired students to participate. A timely testament to the power of collectivism and the continued need for widespread civic engagement.
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 2-5

FOUR STARRED REVIEWS!

★ "An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers' March.


Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs--and perhaps their lives--by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the Black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members in order to tell this story, which is especially important today.


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