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The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power Hardcover – January 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—An edifying and timely exposition of James Meredith and the March Against Fear and their impact on U.S. history, past and present. Bausum's clear language and smart use of archival photos and pull quotes document how Meredith's single-man walk transformed into a larger endeavor to register and unify black voters and to alleviate the fear felt by African Americans living in a racist society (a notion that would later translate to the concept of Black Power). Readers become a part of the march as Bausum begins each chapter with the date, the distance traveled by the marchers, and their next destination. Evocative quotes from those supporting the march and those in opposition provide additional context on the sentiment felt by each side. The inclusion of racial epithets, curses, and horrific abuse emphasizes the reality of the time (an author's note explains the decision not to alter the language of quotations). Bausum expertly encapsulates the overall theme of the march during a specific episode at the Philadelphia, MS, courthouse: "Dignity over anarchy. Justice over injustice. Love in answer to hate." In the back matter, Bausum discusses her research, which included interviewing Meredith, and how civil rights remain a pertinent issue. VERDICT A must-have volume on James Meredith, the March Against Fear, and the evolution of Black Power for high school students.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
"Bausum convincingly shows that the March Against Fear "stands as one of the greatest protests of the civil rights era" and deftly explains the many complex reasons why it was relegated to a footnote rather than a highlight in history. An exceptionally well-written and -researched chronicle of a crucial civil rights turning point." -- Kirkus Starred Review
"In a powerful and timely book, Bausum (Stonewall) focuses her attention on the last great march of the civil rights era... Bausum dissects internal divisions with great sensitivity, lauding Martin Luther King Jr.’s peacemaking powers while illuminating the conditions that provoked others to more confrontational protest...This exemplary look into civil rights history concludes with perspective and encouragement regarding ongoing struggles for social change." -- Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
"An edifying and timely exposition of James Meredith and the March Against Fear and their impact on U.S. history, past and present. Bausum’s clear language and smart use of archival photos and pull quotes document how Meredith’s single-man walk transformed into a larger endeavor to register and unify black voters and to alleviate the fear felt by African Americans living in a racist society...VERDICT A must-have volume on James Meredith, the March Against Fear, and the evolution of Black Power for high school students." -- School Library Journal Starred Review
"Chronological coverage conveys the fear and danger participants faced and documents Carmichael’s first use of the term black power. The brief chapters build on one another, creating a complete picture for readers with limited background knowledge. This compelling account will be equally engaging for classroom resource material or individual research." -- Booklist
"Ann Bausum created a dramatic account of the march against fear. Her story is very relevant to today’s times, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement… Overall, the book would appeal to anyone who is looking for a nonfiction dramatic account of the turbulent times of the civil rights movement. Although the book is primarily written for grades 7-12, it would appeal to adults too." -- VOYA Magazine
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Top customer reviews
Whatever Carmichael's intent, the term 'black power' did not go over so well with the media and many whites. Unfortunately for Carmichael, the term seemed to conjure visions of riots and blacks wresting power from whites, which scared a lot of people. King and others did their best to soften Carmichael's rhetoric, but the damage had already been done and a lot of the good will that the march had generated fizzled away. This book provides not only a look at a specific series of events, including the sometimes violent response, but it also looks at the changes that the Civil Rights Movement was experiencing along the way. I learned a lot from this book. The book shows that history is rarely smooth sailing, but full of bumps and storms with a few calm patches mixed in. I appreciate Bausum's efforts to share this important event with young readers, the opportunities presented here for discussion and teaching are numerous.
When James Meredith decided to make his "March Against Fear" across Mississippi, some might have wondered how much he considered the consequences of his actions. It was 1966 and the civil rights movement was just heating up in the United States. Questions of segregation and equal rights were coming to the forefront and many in the South were struggling with the new ideas springing up. Some might think that Meredith was so focused on the desire to change the plight of people of color that he failed to realize just how dangerous his march would become. Yet, when he was shot and wounded on the second day of the march, the actions of other civil rights leaders helped to solidify the growing desire of many to continue seeking change.
The story of the "March Against Fear" is not well-known but it does deserve a place in history. Ann Bausum has cataloged the historical records of events for this experience and provides readers a groundwork for the beginning of understanding. While others have become more famous, James Meredith has a solid place in the history of the civil rights movement.
James H. Meredith was born in 1933. After the integration of Mississippi, he developed a reputation of being a quirky loner within the civil rights movement. He knew early on that his destiny was to serve as a leader for the oppressed members of his race. He was tired of being afraid of white people and decided to walk from Memphis Tennessee to Jackson Mississippi. This 220-mile journey, wasn’t going to be a protest in Meredith’s eyes but as something ordinary that anyone could do. He set out on his event on June 5, 1966. Once the announcement was released black people from across the country began crossing in Meredith’s name.
Author Ann Bausum is sharing a historic story about one of the greatest protests during the civil rights movement. Black and white photos of marches and the story of a man who no longer wanted to be afraid make this piece of history worth sharing. Although some of the details may be disturbing this true account is worth the read. The back of the book has the Author’s Note which gives readers more insight about why this story needed to be told. Parents and teachers can use this as a guide to open dialogue regarding racial issues of the present day.