Cover image for Turning 15 on the road to freedom : my story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March
Turning 15 on the road to freedom : my story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March
Physical Description:
1 audio disc (1 hr., 1 min.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.
A 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in historic Civil Rights events.


Material Type
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Audiobook SCD 323.1196 LOW 1 DISC 1 1
Audiobook SCD 323.1196 LOW 1 DISC 1 1

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A memoir of the Civil Rights Movement from one of its youngest heroes

A Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor Book
Kirkus Best Books of 2015
Booklist Editors' Choice 2015
BCCB Blue Ribbon 2015

As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed nine times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today's young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.

Straightforward and inspiring, this beautifully illustrated memoir brings readers into the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, complementing Common Core classroom learning and bringing history alive for young readers.

Author Notes

Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to take part in the whole Selma to Montgomery March, now works as a case manager at a mental health center, and still lives in Selma, Alabama.
Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley have collaborated on several previous history and geography books for young people. Elspeth lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Susan lives in New York City.
P J Loughran is an illustrator, creative director, and musician. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lowery's dogged participation as a teen in the fight for equal civil rights-as told to Leacock and Buckley (collaborators on Journeys for Freedom and other titles)-offers a gripping story told in conversational language. "We learned the drill real quick: We went to jail, we came back out, and then we went to jail again.... Pretty soon we knew to take our own little bologna sandwiches... because jail food just wasn't good." The matter-of-fact tone often belies the danger Lowery and other protesting teenagers faced. Enhancing the narrative's appeal are Loughran's dramatic comics-style illustrations, which accompany archival photos. As the 1965 march to Montgomery drew closer, Lowery found herself in increasingly dangerous situations (e.g., the sweatbox in jail or being tear-gassed). Undeterred by fear, she joined the historic march, offering her description of what it was like as the youngest participant on the wet, four-day journey. In time to mark the march's 50th anniversary, this recounting informs and inspires. An afterword briefly explains U.S. segregation history and profiles people who lost their lives in connection with the march. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Before she turned fifteen, Lynda Blackmon, a black Alabamian, had been jailed and bloodied for her cause: the right to vote. Later, she was the youngest person to march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 (she turned fifteen en route). Narrator Obi does a terrific job relating Lyndas wide-ranging emotions: her anger and apprehension, her astonishment when she sees white people fighting on her side, her giddiness upon learning of the celebrities who will perform after the march. In her book, Lowerys story is bracketed by lyrics to civil rightsera staples Woke Up This Morning and Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round, both of which Obi sings in a clarion a cappella. nell beram (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* By the time I was fifteen years old, I had been in jail nine times. So opens Lowery's account of growing up in Selma, Alabama, during the troubled 1960s, as the African American community struggled for voting rights. At 13, Lynda and other students began slipping out of school to participate in marches. At 14, she was first arrested. After many peaceful protests, Lynda and others marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into a violent attack by state troopers and sheriffs' deputies on what became known as Bloody Sunday. Though beaten on the head, she returned two weeks later for the march from Selma to Montgomery and the Voting Rights Act was passed later that year. The plain-spoken language of this memoir makes it all the more moving, while Lowery's detail-rich memories of her community, their shared purpose, and her own experiences make it particularly accessible to young readers. Illustrations include archival photos and original artwork that uses line and color expressively. A concluding page comments that the Supreme Court recently struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, and notes that who has the right to vote is still being decided today. This inspiring personal story illuminates pivotal events in America's history.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2015 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-At the age of 15, Lowery had already been jailed nine times, but she continued to help fight for the right to vote for black Americans. This memoir tells her story as the youngest marcher from Selma to Montgomery, AL. Damaras Obi nails the dramatic scenes, emphasizing the right words and phrases to draw listeners into the story. This audiobook is the perfect length to share with younger listeners in its entirety, or in short snippets to help students understand the experiences of a teen involved in the fight for civil rights. VERDICT A fascinating historical perspective from someone who made a difference for others.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In 1965, Lynda Blackmon Lowery turned 15 during the three-day voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. In this vibrant memoir, Lowery's conversational voice effectively relates her experiences in the civil rights movement on and before that march. The youngest person on the march, she'd already been jailed nine times as a protester, once for six days and once in a hot, windowless "sweatbox" where all the girls passed out. At a protest on "Bloody Sunday," earlier in 1965, a state trooper beat her so badly she needed 35 stitches in her head. The terror of that beating haunted her on the march to Montgomery, but she gained confidence from facing her fear and joining forces with so many, including whites whose concern amazed her after a childhood of segregation. Lowery's simple, chronological narrative opens and closes with lyrics of freedom songs. Appendices discuss voting rights and briefly profile people who died on or around "Bloody Sunday." Double-page spread color illustrations between chapters, smaller retro-style color pictures and black-and-white photographs set in generous white space will appeal even to reluctant readers. Vivid details and the immediacy of Lowery's voice make this a valuable primary document as well as a pleasure to read. (Memoir. 11-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



Excerpted from Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.