From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 6-9–With the aid of archival photographs, meticulous research, and primary-source material, the Fradins have created an outstanding and passionate biography of a civil rights leader who gained prominence as the mentor of the nine African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. Raised in rural Arkansas by adoptive parents, Bates experienced early on the insults and humiliation associated with segregation. When she learned that her mother had been raped and killed (probably by white men who were never tried for the crime), her father urged her to not hate white people, but to hate the humiliation that African Americans lived with, and to do something about it. She and her husband, L. C. Bates, published the ArkansasState Press
, which offered national and local news for African Americans with an emphasis on civil rights matters. The majority of the book focuses on the Little Rock Nine and Bates's tireless fight (in the face of numerous death threats) to help the teens stand up to hate and insults. The authors capture the drama of this fight through interviews from surviving members of the group and newspaper articles from the time. Powerful photos of the federal troops called in by President Eisenhower and of white students jeering at the African Americans help readers to understand the terror of the situation. This compelling biography clearly demonstrates that one person can indeed make a difference.–Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD
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Gr. 8-11. The integration of Little Rock's Central High by nine black teens led one observer to note, "The devil himself could not have been more abhorred by segregationists than Daisy Bates." As president of Arkansas' NAACP during the late 1950s, Bates defied the delaying tactics of the notorious Governor Faubus, demanded protection for the Nine as they braved mobs to attend school, and hosted support sessions to help the trailblazers deal with jeers of "See you later, integrator" and worse. Although the black-and-white design is somewhat prosaic and the cradle-to-grave biographical coverage occasionally seems more comprehensive than necessary, the scrupulously documented storytelling and poignant journalistic photos sharply evoke the experiences of the beleaguered Nine and their mentor, whom supporters dubbed the "Little Rock Joan of Arc." This makes a valuable trio with the husband-and-wife team's other biographies of civil rights activists, Ida B. Wells
(2000) and Fight On! Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration
(2001). Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved