From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up. This is one man's story, but one that was shared by thousands of African Americans across the United States before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Tillage describes the trials of sharecropping; trying to get an education in an inferior school; and walking a long distance to school while watching a bus full of white children pass him by. The author witnessed the murder of his father when a group of drunken white teenagers ran over the man. What price do you place on a human life? The father of the driver gave Mrs. Tillage 100 dollars and told his son to apologize. He never did. There was never any legal action taken. The events are succinctly and honestly expressed in the author's first-person account. Roth's monochromatic collage art, placed before the beginning of each chapter, documents the sparseness of Tillage's life and its boundaries: home, church, school, work, and the balcony at the movie theater. The last story, "Marching," explains the role of many groups of southerners, representing a number of ethnic groups who supported and helped the marchers. The afterword and note about the genesis of the book are important addenda.?Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Tillage, a black custodian in a Baltimore private school, reminisces about his childhood as a sharecropper's son in the South, and his youth as a civil-rights protester. He explains the mechanics of sharecropping and segregation, tells of his mistreatment and his father's murder at the hands of white teenagers out to ``have some fun,'' and relates his experiences with police dogs, fire hoses, and jail while following Martin Luther King's ideas of nonviolent protest. Tillage matter-of-factly recounts horrific events, using spare language that is laced with remarkable wisdom, compassion, and optimism. Such gentleness only gives his story more power, as he drives home the harder realities of his childhood. Although the collage illustrations are interesting, they are too moody and remote for the human spirit behind the words, and readers will regret Roth's decision--especially in light of the boy smiling so brightly on the cover--that ``even one photo would be too many for Leon Walter Tillage's words.'' (Memoir. 8-14) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.