Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men
Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men
Publisher's Hardcover16.44
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Annotation: "In October 1919, a group of Black sharecroppers met at a church in an Arkansas village to organize a union. Bullets rained down on the meeting from outside. Many were killed by a white mob in what became known as the Elaine Massacre. Others were rounded up and arrested. Twelve of the sharecroppers were hastily tried and sentenced to death. Scipio Africanus Jones, a self-taught lawyer who'd been born enslaved, answered the call and represented the twelve--but could he save the men's live and set them free?" -- book jacket
Catalog Number: #255590
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 144
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-629-79816-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-629-79816-5
Dewey: 976
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
An African American lawyer takes on the difficult task of defending a group of Black men sentenced to death.When Black soldiers returned from World War I, many attempted to improve their lives, including a group of sharecroppers in Arkansas determined to unionize. A gathering at a church was fired upon, and one White law officer was killed. The violence escalated when local officials encouraged White men from other states to come and take up arms against Blacks. All this occurred during the nation’s “Red Summer” of 1919. The number of Black people killed in this area of Arkansas was thought to be in the hundreds, but it was the deaths of five Whites that resulted in speedy trials, convictions, and death row sentences. The attorney who stepped up to seek justice for the group known as the Elaine Twelve was Scipio Africanus Jones, from Little Rock. For the next five years, Jones used his knowledge, energy, and money to keep 12 innocent men from being executed and ultimately prevailed while the Black press covered his efforts. This gripping story shines a light on another hidden hero of the struggle for rights for African Americans. An important, well-researched narrative, rich in historical context, is enhanced by archival photographs and glimpses into the lives of working men and women who sought economic fairness and the protections of the United States Constitution.A powerful story of tireless determination for justice in the face of overwhelming odds. (author's note, bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (3/1/21)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 18,657
Reading Level: 7.8
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.8 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 511913 / grade: Middle Grades+
Lexile: 1120L
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers 
An Evanston Public Library 101 Great Books for Kids

In this key civil rights and social justice book for young readers, Scipio Africanus Jones—a self-taught attorney who was born enslaved—leads a momentous series of court cases to save twelve Black men who'd been unjustly sentenced to death.


In October 1919, a group of Black sharecroppers met at a church in an Arkansas village to organize a union. Bullets rained down on the meeting from outside. Many were killed by a white mob, and others were rounded up and arrested. Twelve of the sharecroppers were hastily tried and sentenced to death. Up stepped Scipio Africanus Jones, a self-taught lawyer who'd been born enslaved. Could he save the men's lives and set them free? Through their in-depth research and consultation with legal experts, award-winning nonfiction authors Sandra and Rich Wallace examine the complex proceedings and an unsung African American early civil rights hero.


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