Cover image for Marching for freedom : walk together, children, and don't you grow weary
Marching for freedom : walk together, children, and don't you grow weary
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Viking, c2009.
Physical Description:
72 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Reading Level:
960 L Lexile
This book recounts the three months of protest that took place before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s landmark march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery to promote equal rights and help African-Americans earn the right to vote.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 323.1196 PAR 1 1
Book J 323.1196 PAR 1 1
Book J 323.1196 PAR 1 1
Book J 323.1196 PAR 1 1

On Order



An inspiring look at the fight for the vote, by an award-winning author

Only 44 years ago in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading a fight to win blacks the right to vote. Ground zero for the movement became Selma, Alabama.

Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge leads you straight into the chaotic, passionate, and deadly three months of protests that culminated in the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Focusing on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence in order to march alongside King, this is an inspiring look at their fight for the vote. Stunningly emotional black-and-white photos accompany the text.

Author Notes

Elizabeth Partridge ( is a National Book Award finalist and author of several nonfiction books for children, including Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange ; This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie ; and the Printz Honor-winning John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth . She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Partridge (This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie) tells the unsettling but uplifting story of the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, using the voices of men and women who participated as children and teenagers. Their stories unfold over 10 chapters that detail voter discrimination and the subsequent meetings and protests that culminated in the famous march. Quotations from Joanne Blackmon Bland (first jailed at age 10), Charles Mauldin (a high school student) and other youths arrested and attacked make for a captivating, personal account. The chronological format builds suspense, while the narrative places readers at church meetings, in jail cells and at the march itself. Italicized lyrics to "freedom songs" are woven throughout, emphasizing the power drawn from music, particularly in the wake of the violence of Bloody Sunday ("They were willing to go out again and face state troopers and mounted posses with whips and tear gas and clubs. The music made them bigger than their defeat, bigger than their fear"). Powerful duotone photographs, which range from disturbing to triumphal, showcase the determination of these civil rights pioneers. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) Partridge segues nicely from a series of young adult biographies (Restless Spirit, rev. 3/99; This Land Was Made for You and Me, rev. 3/02; John Lennon, rev. 9/05) to a sharply focused historical narrative for a younger audience. "There are moments in history that grab me tight and don't let go," she writes about her inspiration to chronicle the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery -- and do so from the viewpoint of a half-dozen children and teenagers who participated. Their recollections, culled largely from interviews conducted by the author, perfectly balance and complement the contributions of the adult figures -- Martin Luther King, George Wallace, Lyndon Johnson -- that typically dominate the historical accounts of this event. Partridge provides just enough context of the Jim Crow South to orient readers before plunging readers into the dramatic and harrowing events of the march. Partridge once again demonstrates why she is almost peerless in her photo selection. The photographs have a moral impact as well as a visual one: the stirring cover depicting two high school students, one with an American flag draped over his shoulder, the other with the word VOTE written on his forehead; a four-image sequence in which a young boy is confronted and arrested for holding up a voting rights sign; black men filling out applications to vote in front of a sign enumerating the offensively ridiculous obstacles placed in their way. Author's note, source notes, bibliography, and index are appended. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The subtitle of this stirring photo-essay, drawn from an African American spiritual that was often quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr., points to the book's focus: the essential role that young people played in the Civil Rights movement. Of course, the movement's adult leaders are represented, including Dr. King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, and President Lyndon Johnson. Segregationist Governor George Wallace and his followers are also mentioned. But this overview, which zeros in on the Alabama protests in Selma and the March to Montgomery in 1965, emphasizes the essential impact that ordinary children and teens had on the movement. The vivid text is filled with quotes collected from Partridge's personal interviews with adults who remember their youthful experiences, including their terrifying confrontations with state troopers, during which marchers were attacked with whips, tear gas, and clubs. Filled with large black-and-white photos, every spread brings readers up close to the dramatic, often violent action. Recurring throughout the volume is the freedom fighters' credo that nonviolence did not mean passivity. Today's teen activists will want to talk about these gripping profiles of young people who made a difference; and for those who want to continue their research, the extensive back matter includes long notes and a bibliography of books, films, articles, and online sources.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2009 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

IN the winter and early spring of 1965, Alabama schoolchildren and teenagers by the hundreds played a significant role in one of the civil rights movement's pivotal victories: the march on Montgomery that crystallized Congressional support for voters' rights legislation. In chronicling this episode primarily from the young participants' perspective, Elizabeth Partridge takes the past off its pedestal and shows how ordinary people, children among them, can sometimes tip the balance and help determine the outcome of events. Drawing on archival photographs and interviews with marchers who were as young as 10 at the time, Partridge -whose previous books for young adults include biographies of Woody Guthrie, John Lennon and Dorothea Lange - swiftly sets the stage for the political war of nerves that culminated in the walk from Selma to Montgomery. Once Martin Luther King chose Selma as a pressure point and the demonstrations there began, the brittieness of the segregated city's social fabric became increasingly apparent, giving hope to many who previously had thought change impossible. Deep-seated fears first had to be unlearned; in this re-education process the city's black children and teenagers often led the way. Movement organizers saw them as important participants for several reasons, not least because they bravely marched and filled the jails when adults held back, fearful of losing jobs and income. "Don't worry about your children," King told parents. "They are carving a tunnel of hope through the great mountain of despair." For Charles Mauldin, a high school student and march organizer, political involvement was a transformative experience. "I used to wish I was white," he remembers telling a group of fellow marchers. "Now I wish I was blacker." Lynda Blackmon, who was 14 in 1965, sums up the intensity of commitment many young protesters felt: "The movement was like a fire inside that just kept spreading and spreading and spreading." The story of Southern black youngsters' participation in the civil rights movement has been told before for young readers, notably in Ellen Levine's wideranging oral history compilation "Freedom's Children." Partridge's more tightly focused account offers a complementary perspective that gains in impact from an album's worth of black-and-white documentary photographs, most of them the work of two photographers - Matt Herron and John F. Phillips - about whom, regrettably, no information is provided apart from their names. Alongside the expected glimpses of King, John Lewis and Rosa Parks are striking images of the many who followed their lead. The alternation of points of view reaches a climax when immediately after a close-up of Parks at the podium during the historic March 25th rally in Birmingham, the page turn reveals a long shot of the flag-festooned crowd. Arriving at that image is a powerful experience. Here, the photograph seems to proclaim loudly, is what people look like when they, and democracy, have won. Readers will need to look elsewhere for answers to one of this story's vital questions. What was it that prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Southern Democrat and consummate pragmatist, to pursue what Partridge calls the "backstage alliance" with Dr. King that ultimately proved decisive on behalf of the marchers' cause? Like the people of Selma, Johnson - whose intervention, in this highly condensed account, feels too much like that of a knight in shining armor - had somehow come to imagine a different, more equitable America than the one he had grown up in. Partridge shows eloquently how a season of protest educated and transformed Selma's children, but what had the president learned - and how? Meanwhile, Partridge's stirring history poses another, more immediate, question for a thoughtful reader: Where are today's Selmas and what might a young person do about them? Leonard S. Marcus is the author of "Minders of Make-Believe" and the editor of "Funny Business: Conversations With Writers of Comedy."

School Library Journal Review

Through eloquent text and powerful images, Elizabeth Partridge tells the stories (Viking, 2009) of the brave Civil Rights-era children and teens who, along with their families and friends, participated in freedom marches and endured harassment and violence in Selma, AL. Alan Bomar Jones narrates the taut prose with a measured pace interspersed with a rich rendition of excerpts from the songs that were inspirational to those who took part in the Civil Rights Movement. A bonus CD includes the book's photographs, source notes, and bibliography. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

With this photo-essay on the 54-mile civil-rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Partridge proves once again that nonfiction can be every bit as dramatic as the best fiction. In the spring of 1965, a racist sheriff and a bigoted governor were pitted against demonstrators trained in Martin Luther King's philosophy of nonviolence. The Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson in 1964 had outlawed segregation in schools, workplaces and public areas. Now, demonstrators in Selma, joined by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and King's organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, demanded the right to vote. This is history told from the bottom up, through the words, pictures and actions of the parents and children of Selma. With a perfect balance of energetic prose and well-selected, breathtaking photographs, the volume portrays the fight for the heart of America, concluding with a touching photograph of a pair of hands, one signing a voter registration form. This well-designed and impeccably documented volume is a good match with Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009). (author's note, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.