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We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent ci We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants who have participated in extensive interviews, We've Got a Job recounts the astonishing events before, during, and after the Children's March.


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We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent ci We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants who have participated in extensive interviews, We've Got a Job recounts the astonishing events before, during, and after the Children's March.

30 review for We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    When the Red River crested in 1997 the water was filling up the streets like a bathtub and moving so fast I couldn't get sandbags piled around our house quick enough. My husband was working and I was chiseling ice off the grass so the water wouldn't seep under the sandbags. I knew it was a losing battle and plugged desperately away lugging 40 pound bags in a semicircle as the water inched closer. When a college student popped around the house saying loudly, "Hey, you need some help?" I thought a When the Red River crested in 1997 the water was filling up the streets like a bathtub and moving so fast I couldn't get sandbags piled around our house quick enough. My husband was working and I was chiseling ice off the grass so the water wouldn't seep under the sandbags. I knew it was a losing battle and plugged desperately away lugging 40 pound bags in a semicircle as the water inched closer. When a college student popped around the house saying loudly, "Hey, you need some help?" I thought an angel had dropped from the sky. Then another angel showed up. And another. And another. They didn't stop coming and before I knew it more kids than I could count were whipping up a sandbag wall. Exhaustion and gratitude made me just about sit on a sandbag and cry. The three local colleges released students that day and told them to help residents in one of the worst floods of the century. Students had a choice. They could have enjoyed a free day or they could help others. They chose to give and the students not only saved my house, they saved many other homes and businesses from flooding. It was an amazing experience for adults and students. Kids make a difference and it might mean saving a town from a natural disaster or in the case of the Birmingham Children's March portrayed in this book, forcing desegregation and influencing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed acts of discrimination. Birmingham, Alabama was one of the most racially divided cities in the country. The government and police force were corrupt with supremacists and many blacks were murdered or abused; fear oozed in the town making everyone victims of oppression. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) wanted to change the subhuman treatment of blacks and integrate public places. They first staged boycotts and later sit-ins, but the police brutality made it difficult for them to get enough numbers to be effective. Their goal was to use nonviolent direct action protests to draw national media attention, shut down the city, and fill up the jails with more people than it could contain. Even with the help of Martin Luther King Jr. the adults could not get enough recruits to implement the plan and their civil rights movement looked like it would stall. When a 24-year-old preacher joined their cause, he came up with the idea of using children to fill the Birmingham jails since there were not enough adult volunteers. Students went to mass meetings and workshops that simulated not retaliating when someone was jeering or hurting them. The nonfiction narrative is told through the voices of Audrey, Wash, James, and Arnetta. The four represent different economic statuses that gives a well-rounded retelling of this time period from different perspectives. The wealthy black's experience was not quite the same as the one living in poverty. The courage it took for thousands of kids to demonstrate against a corrupt government and racist people is nothing short of amazing. The police were brutal. The kids knew this. They knew they were risking their lives and injury by marching on the town in protest of segregation, but they did it anyway. They did it for freedom. For a future. They succeeded but not without deaths and injury. The first march had the police releasing dogs on the kids and hitting them with water from fire hoses. The water pressure was great enough to throw kids and adults in the air tumbling them into buildings and other objects. The next march was met with police resistance where they doubled the fire hose power and the force was so powerful it sheared the hair off the side of one kid's head when it hit her. But the kids succeeded in their goal. They got national attention and the city desegregated. It was ugly and didn't happen overnight, but it eventually came to pass. The black and white photos mirror the black and white attitudes with the facts on the side enriching the text. The photos added to the setting and showed the violence but not in a disturbingly graphic way. The photo of the black girl holding the sign, "Can a man love God and hate his brother," while a white policeman confiscates it is particularly powerful. My favorite subtext of facts is on the first page that explains derogatory names blacks were called by whites and the history of how black people referred to themselves and why today they settled on African American. My Taiwanese-born library assistants like to call kids, "boy or girl." I had to explain that they can't get students attention by saying, "Hey boy," because of it's derogatory meaning that started with white slave owners putting down blacks to keep them in servitude and bondage. The start of this story is wrought with tension that doesn't let up through its entire 150 pages. Audrey is 9 years old and announces to her parents, "'I want to go to jail.' ...Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendrick's thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready." What a great lead to pull the reader into the story. Black history tends to be tense with the emotionally charged injustices that happen, but the tension was even more heightened for me because these were children and I'm not sure they all understood what they were actually going up against. James point of view shows just that - he didn't think jail would be as bad and inhumane as it was in reality. The writing is well-done and I particularly liked the author's articulation of civil disobedience and prejudices: "People breathe in the prejudices in their culture without any understanding of what they're taking in," "there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression [Martin Luther King Jr.]" and "Sobered by racism. Angry about violence. Determined to gain civil rights." These child protestors had to face a "mighty enemy" with no fear and their courage is an inspiration for all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Monica Edinger

    For years, one of my favorite teaching materials for the Movement has been the documentary Eyes on the Prize, in particular the section focusing on the 1963 Birmingham Children's Campaign. And so I was delighted to enter Levinson's  focused examination of this particular historical episode. She begins with a prologue: On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail. “I want to go t For years, one of my favorite teaching materials for the Movement has been the documentary Eyes on the Prize, in particular the section focusing on the 1963 Birmingham Children's Campaign. And so I was delighted to enter Levinson's  focused examination of this particular historical episode. She begins with a prologue: On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail. “I want to go to jail,” Audrey told her mother. How could you not want to read on after that? Through Audrey and three other young people who were involved Levinson vividly makes this historical time up close and personal. And honest --- there is no sugar coating here --- at the very beginning she provides "A Note on Name-Calling" in which she clearly lays out the varied terms by which African-Americans have been referred to and referred to themselves over time. After that she presents those terms as they were used during this time period without further comment. This is a real life story that takes place over a brief period of time and Levinson does a superb job bringing out the suspense, drama, harshness, and celebration of all. Again --- you can't make this stuff up! I especially appreciated the elegant way she brought in the complications --- what was working and what wasn't, the different behaviors and personalities of the leaders, and most of all the varied voices of her young people. Audrey, Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter all were part of the marches, but in very different ways. By highlighting their different backgrounds, Levinson makes myth reality. Complementing her text are photos and perfectly-placed sidebars highlighting dates, quotes, and excerpts from relevant documents; an author note articulating the research and writing process; notes indicating sources for each chapter (though, I admit, I wanted even more of them); and an index. (I love books with indices!)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Thanks to Mighty Times: The Children's March, a film distributed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance, Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White (2011) and Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009), I knew something about the role of children and teens in the Civil Rights Movement, but this new title covers the territory even more thoroughly by focusing on the role of four youngsters who played parts in keeping the campaign for fair treatment alive. Through the vo Thanks to Mighty Times: The Children's March, a film distributed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance, Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White (2011) and Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009), I knew something about the role of children and teens in the Civil Rights Movement, but this new title covers the territory even more thoroughly by focusing on the role of four youngsters who played parts in keeping the campaign for fair treatment alive. Through the voices of Audrey Hendricks, 9; Wash Booker, 14; Arnetta Streeter, 16; and James Stewart, 15, the author describes the events that occurred during the 1963 protest. While readers will find the names of well-known civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel, and Fred Shuttlesworth in the book's fifteen chapters, it is the children and teens who are the stars here, brave enough to volunteer to be arrested and to face violence on the streets of Birmingham. Because so many protesters were arrested, the city's jails were filled and overflowing, and the city's law enforcement officials couldn't keep up with the masses of young people who kept marching through the street. The voices are honest and raw yet filled with hope and determination, a vivid reminder of the impact to create change even the youngest of us may have. The author conducted extensive research and interviewed many of the participants in the march for her inspiring story. As I eagerly turned the pages of the book, I kept pondering what might have happened if these youngsters hadn't volunteered or if something had gone terribly wrong during the protests or subsequent imprisonment. There is much food for thought here as the author brings history from almost 50 years ago to life. Pair this title with Larry Dane Brimner's Birmingham Sunday (2010)and Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 and marvel at the large photographs and sidebars that fill this book's pages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    In the early 1960s, a group of black protestors made their way through Birmingham marching for Civil Rights. They were sprayed with fire hoses by local authorities, the impact of the water so forceful that it sheared the hair off the side of Carolyn Maull’s head. Others were hurled against brick buildings. One boy was lifted into the air. They were assaulted with glass bottles and bricks thrown by onlookers from neighboring buildings. They were attacked by German shepherds set loose by police of In the early 1960s, a group of black protestors made their way through Birmingham marching for Civil Rights. They were sprayed with fire hoses by local authorities, the impact of the water so forceful that it sheared the hair off the side of Carolyn Maull’s head. Others were hurled against brick buildings. One boy was lifted into the air. They were assaulted with glass bottles and bricks thrown by onlookers from neighboring buildings. They were attacked by German shepherds set loose by police officers. They were arrested and sent to jail where they were interrogated and hit with chains. And they were children. About the same age as you. D-Day on May 2, 1963. Freedom Fighters. The Peace Ponies. Project C. The Ku Klux Klan. Communism. Operation Confusion. It all comes together here in this story of 4 of the children who walked bravely into this nightmare to stand up for their rights. The stories are powerful, unforgettable, heartbreaking. The photographs are distressing. I stared at the photographs, in complete disbelief that they were real. Over the course of a few days in May 1963, these children, on the urgings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., knew they had to be the ones to make a stand. And stand they did. They set off “the fight that decides whether America will live or die.” (James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality) Between May 2 and May 6, almost 2500 young people had been arrested. The 4 children whose stories are told here, even though they were all black and from Birmingham, were all from different backgrounds. Audrey was from a black middle-class family. Washington Booker III lived in a 2-story tenement and didn’t take a bath in a tub with hot and cold running water until he was 9. James Stewart ‘s father was the first black board-certified obstetrician in Alabama. And Arnetta Streeter grew up attending a Catholic school taught by white nuns and was immersed in fighting for Civil Rights from a very early age. And their story is the story of how a Children’s March changed American history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    I got a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I selected it because it deals with an event in history that I knew very little about -- the protests and jailing of children and teenagers in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. It is aimed at young readers and focuses on the involvement of 4 kids. I gave "We've got a job" 4 stars for its content. The history is fascinating and disturbing. The narrative of how those few days unfolded conveys the complexity of the tension between and within I got a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I selected it because it deals with an event in history that I knew very little about -- the protests and jailing of children and teenagers in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. It is aimed at young readers and focuses on the involvement of 4 kids. I gave "We've got a job" 4 stars for its content. The history is fascinating and disturbing. The narrative of how those few days unfolded conveys the complexity of the tension between and within various groups. The desperation and cleverness of having kids voluntarily fill the jails is especially astonishing. In the grand scheme of things, 50 years is not that long ago and the resistance to desegregation is jaw dropping from my perspective in urban Canada. As a book, it could do with a bit of editing -- especially if the intended audience are children. At times, it was an arduous read because it seemed like a lengthy listing of facts and events with little comment or broader historical context. But it was well worth the read and ultimately very moving.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    Can you imagine letting your children voluntarily go to jail? Well, that is exactly what happened in Birmingham, Alabama on May 3, 1963 when 4,000 young people skipped school in order to participate in the Children's March protesting segregation, a march that they knew would ultimately end with their being arrested. This was a time when the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum - adults and children, supporters and enemies. Right from the start, Levenson introduces the reader to four of the Can you imagine letting your children voluntarily go to jail? Well, that is exactly what happened in Birmingham, Alabama on May 3, 1963 when 4,000 young people skipped school in order to participate in the Children's March protesting segregation, a march that they knew would ultimately end with their being arrested. This was a time when the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum - adults and children, supporters and enemies. Right from the start, Levenson introduces the reader to four of the young people who took part in the Children's March. They are a interesting cross-section of the participants. There's 9 year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, whose educated, middle class parents had been involved in the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement since the early 1950s. Audrey was a diligent student , who carried a game with her on the march to have something to do in jail after being arrested. Washington Booker, 14, lived in abject poverty before moving into public housing when he was 8. Wash didn't have much use for school, skipping most days to hang out with his friends. He had no idea that children all over Birmingham were about to demonstrate with the intention of being arrested to make their point. Wash had already had experience with the police, yet he ultimately, though reluctantly volunteered to go to jail for the cause of Civil Rights. James W. Stewart, 15, was a serious student, whose middle class parents lived in a home with a pool. When the pools and parks were closed to the black community in Birmingham, James and his parents welcomed the kids from the projects to spend summer days at their house. Acutely aware of what was happening around him in Birmingham, and not possessing the fortitude to take part in passive, non-violent demonstrations while people hurled garbage at him, James decided that marching and being arrested felt like the right thing for him to do. Arnetta Streeter, 16, was inspired to get involved in the Civil Rights Movement after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King speak. After thinking long and hard about whether King's nonviolent approach to Civil Rights was for her, Arnetta began training to become a nonviolent protester, even signing the 10 Commandments of Nonviolence pledge, after which she could hardly wait to demonstrate. Levinson continues with a brief history of Birmingham's segregationist politics, including the white Commissioner of Public Safety, named Eugene "Bull" Connor, a virulent anti-segregationist with an aggressive, violent police force under his command. The book also traces the evolution of the Children's March, introducing the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. King, Rev. Schuttlesworth, founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, and a 26 year-old pop musician/preacher, James Bevel, who "became the pied piper for the young people." But what is most compelling about this book is the day-by-day account of the Children's March beginning May 2, 1963 and ending May 11, 1963, when approximately 2,500 young people were arrested and flooded the city jail. To her credit, Levinson takes what was a very complicated, multi-faceted historical event that involved so many people and so many important events happening simultaneously, and through clear and concise prose makes it accessible to young readers. By focusing in only 4 of the participants, Levinson makes the story personal and very readable. In addition, she included sidebars adding more information, copious photographs and important documents from that time. Levinson's research is detailed and impeccable. She uses a wide variety of sources, including newspaper accounts, letters, interviews and includes a timeline of events, an Author's Note, a Bibliography and comprehensive Notes citing her sources. We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March is an excellent nonfiction choice for anyone interested in history, and especially in the Civil Rights Movement. This book is recommended for readers age 12+ This book was an EARC received from NetGalley This review was originally posted on Randomly Reading

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    An engaging, informative narrative in the history of Civil Rights from the perspective of several African-American youths standing up in the face of oppression in 1963. "We've Got A Job" toggles between personal accounts of children who marched in protest of discrimination and informative passages that illustrate examples of the laws that were enacted during that time, derogatory social attitudes, and harsh realities that African-American men, women, and children endured. The work also contains An engaging, informative narrative in the history of Civil Rights from the perspective of several African-American youths standing up in the face of oppression in 1963. "We've Got A Job" toggles between personal accounts of children who marched in protest of discrimination and informative passages that illustrate examples of the laws that were enacted during that time, derogatory social attitudes, and harsh realities that African-American men, women, and children endured. The work also contains full black and white photographs and documents that shape the movement and the people involved, including Martin Luther King Jr and Fred Shuttlesworth. It shows both the demonstration of peaceful protests and the riots and violence that shook Birmingham, Alabama in that time from primary sources. It was a wonderfully compiled and informative resource, and certainly would recommend it considering it examines from an intimate and external perspective in the struggle for equality. I wouldn't say it provides the most complete expansion on the topic, but I think as a conversation starter as well as a resource, it's well worth perusing. Overall score: 4/5 Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Peachtree Publishers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    While I thought this was a bit long, and I sometimes had trouble keeping the timeline straight, this is an impressive achievement. Every time I think "okay, I've got it" about children's involvement in the civil rights movement--I've read quite a few books on the subject over the last three years or so--I learn something new or discover a new way of looking at the situation, and that was true here several times over. I think this meets every Newbery criterion, especially excelling in style and s While I thought this was a bit long, and I sometimes had trouble keeping the timeline straight, this is an impressive achievement. Every time I think "okay, I've got it" about children's involvement in the civil rights movement--I've read quite a few books on the subject over the last three years or so--I learn something new or discover a new way of looking at the situation, and that was true here several times over. I think this meets every Newbery criterion, especially excelling in style and setting, and will be happy to see it in discussions and maybe on the podium. This isn't eligible for the Coretta Scott King, but is either/both for the Newbery and the Sibert.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: WE’VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH by Cynthia Levinson, Peachtree, February 2012, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7 “Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise” -- Paul McCartney “These are our heroes, and they still walk among us today. One of them may be sitting next to you as you read this, or standing in the next room making your dinner, or waiting for you to come outsi Richie’s Picks: WE’VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH by Cynthia Levinson, Peachtree, February 2012, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7 “Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise” -- Paul McCartney “These are our heroes, and they still walk among us today. One of them may be sitting next to you as you read this, or standing in the next room making your dinner, or waiting for you to come outside and play. “One of them may be you.” --Christopher Paul Curtis, afterword, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963 “[Fred] Shuttlesworth countered, ‘Sometimes you have to raise [your children] so they’ll be people on their own…[T]he best education was being educated to destroy the system which kept them enslaved.’ He had raised his own children this way. Six years earlier, while riding by themselves on an interstate bus from an integrated summer camp in Tennessee back to Alabama, Pat, Ricky, and Fred Jr., aged eleven through fifteen, refused to move when the driver ordered them to sit in the back of the bus. The children spent a night in the Gadsden City Jail. When their father drove to pick them up, local police ticketed him at every stop sign, even though he obeyed the traffic laws, and he lost his driver’s license for a year.” Yes, indeedy. God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood. There is a heap of truly crazy, despicable stuff we learn about in WE’VE GOT A JOB. Stuff like the fact that it was actually unlawful in Birmingham back then “for a negro and a white person to play together or in company with each other” whether it was cards or checkers; baseball or basketball. Stuff like how, in the wake of a black NAACP lawyer winning a lawsuit against the University of Alabama, compelling the University to enroll a black woman they’d admitted, the state retaliated by outlawing the NAACP. Stuff like how the economic disincentives experienced by white business owners, resulting from segregation, led to a 1963 referendum and subsequent election in Birmingham that actually ousted Bull Connor from elected office but that for thirty-seven days Connor refused to surrender power, continued to convene the old government in city hall, and refused to vacate the official mayor’s office. Crazy stuff, right? But for many of the Civil Rights leaders, the notion of having children protest and get arrested so as to clog the city’s jails and other nearby jails was just as crazy. And with the Civil Rights Movement’s progress faltering in Birmingham early in 1963, there was a great debate going on about what should be done to regain momentum toward making real gains in the struggle for equal rights and equal opportunity. “”As for white moderates who were urging delay, [Dr.] King replied, ‘I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the …Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who…feels that he can set the time-table for another man’s freedom. ‘ “Movement leaders were impatient men willing to confront both fearful blacks and obstinate whites because they knew that, as King stated, ‘”Wait” has almost always meant “Never.”’ At a mass meeting, he contended, ‘The time is always right to do right.’” But was it time to advocate having children protest and get thrown in jail? Amidst all the crazy stuff going on, the Reverend Dr. King suggested holding mass meetings every night…a strategy that would soon lead – despite Dr. King’s initial misgivings -- to young people answering the call to make a change by putting their young bodies on the line. “A mass meeting rolled worship services, social visits, teen hangouts, choir concerts, sing-alongs, fish fries, strategy sessions, political debates, news reports, educational assemblies, fundraisers, crowd-rousers, and calls for volunteers all into one spiritual and spirited extravaganza. Teenage activist Gwendolyn Sanders said, ‘A typical mass meeting [was] shouting, singing, having a hallelujah time. Meeting, greeting, loving, caring, and sharing.’ These magnetic gatherings quickly became a vital feature of the civil rights movement.” And so it is that WE’VE GOT A JOB includes the narratives of four young people from Birmingham Alabama – Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, Arnetta Streeter, and James Stewart -- who attended those meetings and became inspired to participate in the events in Birmingham in order to change theirs and everyone’s world for the better. “After the mass meeting, I told my mother, ‘I want to go to jail…’” --Audrey Hendricks, age 9 “Talking ‘bout my generation” --Pete Townsend Nine years old! That made Audrey Hendricks just a year older than I was that spring! I had no idea that nine year-old American kids went to jail in the sixties to change the world. “Each group emerged singing and clapping. Audrey’s group sang ‘Aint’ Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.’ She later exclaimed, ‘The singing was like a jubilance.’ Her group didn’t march as far as James’s had. ‘We got across the street, to the middle of the next block.’ As her parents watched, she was arrested and put in the paddy wagon. Holding her game tightly, she was driven to Juvenile Hall at City Jail. “Each time the last marcher in a group [of fifty] was loaded into a paddy wagon, the police assumed the parade was over. Just that morning, Connor had assured his men that King would quickly ‘run out of niggers.’ But, then, the church doors would open again, and more kids would burst out. One officer finally asked Shuttlesworth, How many more have you got?’” Witnessing what happened the second day of the Children’s March – the high-pressure fire hoses and biting police dogs turned on young people, footage of which was broadcast nationally on the nightly news – affected me, then a very sensitive eight year-old, to the extent that this story is part of my own story. Through my forever after identifying with those children and teens on the evening news, these events changed me. And it changed history. The fallout resulting from the nation seeing these children being arrested and abused reenergized the Civil Rights Movement, galvanized national support for change, and compelled President Kennedy to move forward on civil and voting rights issues. By the fifth day of the action, nearly 10,000 people packed four mass meetings in Birmingham at which Dr. King spoke. As a result of these children acting, Birmingham’s power structure and white business community were forced, albeit reluctantly, to change its ways. Sadly, it also led to racist revenge, culminating with the September 15, 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four children. I’VE GOT A JOB is going to make a stellar nonfiction companion to Christopher Paul Curtis’s THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963 and Carole Boston Weatherford’s BIRMINGHAM, 1963. In a final chapter, we learn what became of these four young people who we’ve followed through months in 1963 Birmingham. It is really exciting to learn each of their success stories. WE'VE GOT A JOB is a powerful account of those history-changing days that are now a half-century in the past but not at all forgotten. Through text and photographs, this is a testimony that will stun and inspire young people born decades afterward in the same way that it still stuns and inspires me as one who remembers it all too well. “From sea to shining sea.” Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com [email protected] Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book follows the lives of four young black students, Audrey, Arnetta, James and Wash, ranging in age from elementary to high school, who were part of the Birmingham Children's March in May of 1963. Each one was from different circumstances, but all four were part of the thousands of black school children who marched the streets of Birmingham that week. For years, black leaders had worked tirelessly to end the Segregation Ordinances in Birmingham, as the Civil Rights Movement was steadily pi This book follows the lives of four young black students, Audrey, Arnetta, James and Wash, ranging in age from elementary to high school, who were part of the Birmingham Children's March in May of 1963. Each one was from different circumstances, but all four were part of the thousands of black school children who marched the streets of Birmingham that week. For years, black leaders had worked tirelessly to end the Segregation Ordinances in Birmingham, as the Civil Rights Movement was steadily picking away at the segregation policies all over Jim Crow South. The deep resolve of the black community matched the staunch opposition of the white segregationists, though every battle it seemed was hard fought and hard won - one step forward and two steps back. Martin Luther King, Fred Shuttlesworth and other leaders had held countless church rallies and group meetings to try and organize nonviolent demonstrations among Birmingham's black citizens. Although the meetings were well attended, and the demonstrations were regular, the white segregationist powers-that-be were able to quell the movement, to the point that it almost fell apart. Enter James Bevel, a charismatic singer from the north who appealed to Birmingham's youth to walk out of school and march down the city streets, peacefully demonstrating for equality for all. Young black students, invigorated by the opportunity to make history and change, marched by the thousands. Thousands were arrested during the series of demonstrations that ran May 2-5, 1963, including our four profile students. This book, illustrated with compelling photos, letters and documents from the time period, really gives a sense of the struggle that the black citizens of Birmigham went through. Yet each setback seemed to only deepen the collective resolve to bring about change. The book pulls no punches. The photos tell the tale of the appalling treatment that the nonviolent demonstrators received at the hands of the white authorities who doused them with high powered water hoses, beat them with rifle butts, turned menacing German Shepherds on them and packed them sardine-style into paddy wagons and into overcrowded jails. Also disheartening was the continual political wrangling, even up to the highest office in the land, that resulted in faltering, uncertain policy until the Civil Rights Bill was finally passed in 1964, followed by the Voting Rights Bill in 1965. Yet as James (one of the four profile students) pointed out, "Birmingham put the spotlight on national racism, because it was widely televised and they brought out the dogs and the water hoses, then racism was so exposed. That sparked demonstrations around the country." (p.142) This book gives an education on the Civil Rights Movement that you would be hard pressed to find in a textbook. Reading it made me wonder why it is not required reading for every U.S. history student in America - it should be! The personal accounts are so compelling and really bring the Children's March to life in a way that will resonate with readers, young and old alike. You find yourself rooting for these kids throughout, wondering what will happen to them as they show themselves willing to pay a hefty price for equality and justice. Five well-deserved stars!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Irma

    We’ve Got a Job authored by Cynthia Levinson tells a story of approximately 4000 children who fought for their civil rights during the 1960s. Levinson, a former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, aims to provide her readers with as much information as possible about the experiences, prejudices and hardships African Americans encountered during this era. She does so by focusing on the events and experiences of children during the Civil Rights Movement. Like many Americans, We’ve Got a Job authored by Cynthia Levinson tells a story of approximately 4000 children who fought for their civil rights during the 1960s. Levinson, a former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, aims to provide her readers with as much information as possible about the experiences, prejudices and hardships African Americans encountered during this era. She does so by focusing on the events and experiences of children during the Civil Rights Movement. Like many Americans, I have read about and am somewhat educated on segregation and am knowledgeable of the many civil rights activists that took part in the movement. However, I never knew that children, especially one as young as 9 years old, played such an important part in repealing segregation laws. This story allows me to focus on the events and stories of the brave children who “marched their way to jail” for their freedom. This book was very inspiring to me. I think the main reason that I was able to truly relate to the events was because the story was told through the perspectives of four children, Audrey, Wash, James, and Arnetta. Like so many other children during the civil rights movement, Arnetta realized the importance of fighting, nonviolently, for her civil rights. She shared this sentiment by stating “It was something that was very, very much a part of me. I really, really believed in the Movement” (32). She, like many others, realized that committing to the movement meant that she was risking her life as well as the lives of their families. Furthermore, these children pledged to remain nonviolent: “We had to sign a form that you were willing to march, that you were going to be nonviolent” (35). Despite the many threats, these children believed and took a stand for their rights. Through her research and interviews with protestors, Levinson was able to tell the story of how the African American children of Birmingham, Alabama achieved positive results with peaceful actions despite the sometimes tempting urge to retaliate with violence. In my opinion, Levinson’s We’ve Got a Job The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March is an interesting, informative and emotion provoking read. Levinson tells the story of these war heroes, stories that until now have remained unspoken. Personally, I feel that Levinson took my hand and lead me into the world of the brave, courageous African American children and provided me with viewpoints I may not have otherwise considered. I would recommend this text to middle-aged and high school children and anyone interested in learning about the ways children participated in the civil rights movement.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    "I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother. Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. Her father had even bought her a new game she'd been eyeing. Audrey imagined that it would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cell block. That morning, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she'd be absent. Mrs. Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her. She also hugged all four grandpar "I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother. Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. Her father had even bought her a new game she'd been eyeing. Audrey imagined that it would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cell block. That morning, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she'd be absent. Mrs. Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her. She also hugged all four grandparents goodbye. One of her grandmothers assured her, "You'll be fine." Then Audrey's parents drove her to the church to get arrested. ----- That setup in the prologue of We've Got a Job hooked me most effectively--as I imagine it would even more effectively hook young readers closer to Audrey's age--then the book went back in time and very suspensefully built to the protest marches that led to Audrey's arrest. If I learned in school about the specifics of the 1963 Civil Rights protests in Birmingham, particularly the fact that the bulk of those marching and getting arrested were children, I'd forgotten it before I read this book. And I'd certainly never learned about the complexities of the situation, the day-to-day drama as it developed. For nearly a month, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other movement leaders were failing in their efforts to overcrowd the jails so they might force the hand of white city leaders, and were about to lose all credibility. The community was divided about whether this was the best course of action and adults were too scared of losing their jobs and being unable to support their families. Then the children decided they would do what the adults couldn't or wouldn't, and the movement took off and became central to national change, even if doing so meant they would get sprayed down streets by high pressure water hoses and attacked by dogs to outrage people on the evening news. I knew of some of these events as abstract ideas; now that I've read this engaging, fascinating book, I know about them through the eyes and emotions of the participants. Levinson follows four children of different ages and backgrounds over the course of the story, letting the drama and tension build as they experienced things. It makes for highly readable, compelling history that I gladly recommend to all readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    What would one sacrifice for equality and justice? We’ve Got a Job tells the story of the struggle the African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama had to endure against the city’s racist culture. This story is told through the eyes of four heroic children: Wash, Audrey, James, and Arnetta. It tells of their experiences against segregation and police brutality and their fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Who knew that children would be the key turning point in changing history… Cyn What would one sacrifice for equality and justice? We’ve Got a Job tells the story of the struggle the African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama had to endure against the city’s racist culture. This story is told through the eyes of four heroic children: Wash, Audrey, James, and Arnetta. It tells of their experiences against segregation and police brutality and their fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Who knew that children would be the key turning point in changing history… Cynthia Levinson did an excellent job in putting together the book We’ve Got a Job. When one thinks of the Civil Rights Movement we think of a historical figure such as Dr. Martin Luther King who fought for equality and justice using nonviolent protests. Who could’ve ever imagined that children and young adults would have just as much impact if not more during this time? In this book, there are four main characters, Wash, Audrey, James, and Arnetta range from the ages of nine to fifteen and each comes from a different background with different attitudes. Each of their stories is unique in its own way with one goal in mind: EQUALITY. I felt that I was somewhat knowledgeable in the history of the civil rights movement and all that it entailed. But Levinson brings a whole new meaning to what I thought I knew, by giving an insightful view through the eyes of the children of Birmingham. Children from elementary, middle school, and high schools unite after the adults’ attempts to “fill the jails” comes up short. They were sent to jail, some were expelled, others hosed, bombed, attacked by police dogs, and those less fortunate were even killed. But after much sacrifice and persistence, victory is theirs! Several laws were changed to make the city a more equal place for all, which in turn influenced others all over the country to take a stand. There are many pictures of actual events and people throughout the book which takes you back to that time to make the read a more meaningful experience. You are able to envision being at the protest or seeing the aftermath of a bombing. This book is a good read for middle school to high school readers. But I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those studying the Civil Rights movement or historical events that took place in the 1960’s. It really is a fascinating read and gives a more personal and meaningful perspective to this part of history than a lot of other books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Graf

    History is full of untold stories or stories that you hear about and quickly dismiss because they are not 'big' enough to dwell on. Cynthia Levinson takes you to one segment of American history in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March where she reveals the battle of desegregation, racism, and prejudice not only with the big leaders like King but also with the young children of Birmingham, Alabama. The tension between groups in the 1960s over where the blacks should and should not History is full of untold stories or stories that you hear about and quickly dismiss because they are not 'big' enough to dwell on. Cynthia Levinson takes you to one segment of American history in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March where she reveals the battle of desegregation, racism, and prejudice not only with the big leaders like King but also with the young children of Birmingham, Alabama. The tension between groups in the 1960s over where the blacks should and should not be within society was not minor nor light. It was huge with many people dying. Churches and homes were bombed. People where killed just for expressing their beliefs that a black child should be able to get the same education in the same building as a white child. Most protestors were adults. They were led by such leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr., but there were also the teenagers and children who were affected. They were the ones used as test subjects by their parents and others in the fight for education. Many tried to avoid the protests until they realized that they could make a difference. From that point on, the young children of Birmingham stepped forward and willing went to jail. This book covers not just the protests but what led up to them. It singles out several young people from all walks of life who eventually came together to stand as one. This is one of the best features of this book. It was not just a book about protests. It was a personal look at those same young people who risked everything. Though King and others were mentioned, they were not the focus. The average person was. By doing this, Ms. Levinson made it more real and gave the time period much more depth than what you typically receive studying the 60s. There are many pictures of events and of the actual people who tell their stories. As you read, you see the protests, the arrests, and even the peace trainings. I am a very visual person, and this enhanced the reading experience. If you are studying the 1960s, African American history, or just want to learn more, I highly recommend this book. It is a great read and goes beyond what others give you. It gives you the hearts behind the movements. Note: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    This book was provided by www.netgalley.com in exchange for a review. The kindle copy I received was an uncorrected proof, which affected the flow of the story. The author used years of research and interviews with individuals who marched, and weaves their stories together. At the beginning it does effect the cohesiveness to be jumping around so much, but I'm hoping it improved with editing for final copy. I consider myself pretty well educated about the civil rights movement. The marches, the l This book was provided by www.netgalley.com in exchange for a review. The kindle copy I received was an uncorrected proof, which affected the flow of the story. The author used years of research and interviews with individuals who marched, and weaves their stories together. At the beginning it does effect the cohesiveness to be jumping around so much, but I'm hoping it improved with editing for final copy. I consider myself pretty well educated about the civil rights movement. The marches, the leaders, the progress - I read Roots at age 8 and was reading about Malcolm X at age 10. How in the world did I not know about the marches in Birmingham and know nothing about the role children played? How gross of an oversight is it that in the US school system as we learn about Civil Rights and MLK Jr., we aren't taught that it was children our age who made a difference and changed the course of history? The accompanying pictures were powerful. I never knew most of the marchers were children that filled the jails and walked out of school. I loved that a children's book written to be accessible teaches me so much. I never knew about the divisions within the black community and amongst the black churches that almost led to failure as the movement hung by a thread. My favorite part really impacted me. When TNT was placed in the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 and killed four teenage girls, amidst the chaos, fear, and anger, Reverend Shuttlesworth admonished the furious crowd that "we should be forgiving as Christ was forgiving" and Revered Billups added "Go home and pray for the men who did this evil deed... We must have love in our hearts for these men." When I read that I melted. Never before had I realized to such an extent the courage, strength, and forgiveness were the keys to the success of the passage of the civil rights bill. I knew they used nonviolence to accomplish their means - but the sacrifices they made were more than I had considered before. This was certainly an excellent narrative of an integral time in our nation's history. It increases in importance the more we share it with children the same age of those who changed the world. 5 stars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Billy

    It’s not often you see a book of primary sources, in this case interviews with subjects, written for a younger audience. And in this case, it was very well-written. Content area: Social Studies/U.S. History 1. Remembering: What strategy were the protestors using to bring attention to and ultimately end segregation in Birmingham? What were the authorities’ responses? 2. Understanding: Describe the rationale behind and the effects of the “separate but equal” system. 3. Applying: In order for Project C It’s not often you see a book of primary sources, in this case interviews with subjects, written for a younger audience. And in this case, it was very well-written. Content area: Social Studies/U.S. History 1. Remembering: What strategy were the protestors using to bring attention to and ultimately end segregation in Birmingham? What were the authorities’ responses? 2. Understanding: Describe the rationale behind and the effects of the “separate but equal” system. 3. Applying: In order for Project C to be successful, Wyatt Tee Walker, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, started by calculating things like distances between meeting places and city hall, and how many protesters should be assigned to each sit-in location (p. 47-48). Following this example, estimate how many students it would take to stage a sit-in in a meeting place near you (school cafeteria, library meeting room). 4. Analyzing: Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Bevel, an SCLC director, disagreed over the idea of having children participate in Project C’s effort to fill Birmingham’s jail cells and overwhelm the authorities (p.66). Debate their positions. Alternatively (or additionally), explain your own position on the idea. 5. Evaluating: Following the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, many protestors switched from non-violent to violent actions (p.145-147). What argument(s) might you use to convince them not to seek revenge in this way? 6. Creating: Interviewees noted that there was a “cotton curtain” that kept news about the demonstrations from cycling in and out of the South, and that local newspapers were printing public opinion and editorials rather than news, making national and other high-profile news sources best for finding information on the demonstrations (p.99-100). [Explain cotton curtain-Iron Curtain analogy if needed] Choose an incident or event in the book and write two articles about it; one as a reporter for one of the Birmingham newspapers, the other as a reporter for the New York Times or the evening news on national TV. Levinson, C. (2012). We’ve got a job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Schoessler

    We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson is a chapter book about young children and young adults that voluntary went to jail during the civil rights movement. I enjoyed reading this book because I did not know much about the children’s march. The main characters in the story in the book are Audrey Faye Hendricks, Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart and Arnetta Streeter. These children are participated in the children’s march and got involved with the We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson is a chapter book about young children and young adults that voluntary went to jail during the civil rights movement. I enjoyed reading this book because I did not know much about the children’s march. The main characters in the story in the book are Audrey Faye Hendricks, Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart and Arnetta Streeter. These children are participated in the children’s march and got involved with the civil rights movement at a young age. One of the main themes in the story is it provides in depth information about cultural issues that many African Americans faced. For example in Audrey Hendricks story, she recalls about the separate but equal law and Washington recalls the freedom riders. Furthermore, one of my favorite quotes from the book that shows discrimination is when the author writes, “an elderly black man was walking his dog in the park. A policeman allowed the dog to attack that man just because he was walking” (Levinson,2012). This shows that policeman would do anything to African Americans just to prevent them from gaining more rights. This book is an excellent choice to use in the classroom to teach students about the discrimination African Americans faced and how they often clashed with whites. An example of this is seen when white men bomb an African American church and this leaves many children and young adults dead or injured. This book is also good to use in the classroom because it teaches students about the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. He was the main leader of the civil rights movement and many African Americans looked up to him in hopes of putting an end to discrimination. The illustrations are also very important in the story. The pictures are of the real life characters and events that took place during the children’s march. this helps the reader better understand the story. As a final note, this book is great to use in the classroom because it explains an important part of American history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gianna Garces

    Cynthia Levinson wrote this fascinating book telling the story of 4,000 children who came together to stand up for their rights and beliefs in 1964. This side of the story is seldom told, we mostly hear about prominent leaders in the Civil Rights movement such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. Before this book I wasn’t aware that such a large number of children held a march in Birmingham, as young as nine years old. I was saddened to know I wasn’t taught this when I was in grade school Cynthia Levinson wrote this fascinating book telling the story of 4,000 children who came together to stand up for their rights and beliefs in 1964. This side of the story is seldom told, we mostly hear about prominent leaders in the Civil Rights movement such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. Before this book I wasn’t aware that such a large number of children held a march in Birmingham, as young as nine years old. I was saddened to know I wasn’t taught this when I was in grade school, but I think it should definitely be taught in schools today. Since adult participating in protests, sit-in, and other rallies didn’t get the results they desired the children of Birmingham took matters into their own hand. Their actions are very inspiring. I really liked how the author focused on four young children, Washington Booker III, James Stewart, Aretta Streeter, and Audrey Faye Hendricks, and their personal involvements to fight against segregation laws in Birmingham. By reliving stories through their perspectives and reading their quotes throughout their book readers are able to relate to their experiences in a deeper way. The pictures chosen for this book were very moving. They were saddening, powerful, inspiring, and eye catching. I really liked the layout of the book. They did a great job with the size of the font and pictures to make it an easy read. I also liked how they highlighted quotes and added relevant information going on throughout the nation at the time on the side of some pages. “We’ve got a job” is a very informative, interesting, inspiring, and emotion book that I feel everyone should read. It really does an excellent job showing the lives of young children who were very brave, courageous, and impactful with their actions during this important time in our history and throughout the rest of their lives.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    While I ended up enjoying "We've got a job", it did start off very slowly. I found the way the author chose to focus on each teen while providing background of the Civil Rights Movement to be very disjointed. She did cover a lot of information, which is important in understanding not only the Children's March but how and why it came to be but I found it to be very dry. In all honesty, I was pretty familiar with the history of the Civil Rights Movement, so I skimmed through some of this. However, While I ended up enjoying "We've got a job", it did start off very slowly. I found the way the author chose to focus on each teen while providing background of the Civil Rights Movement to be very disjointed. She did cover a lot of information, which is important in understanding not only the Children's March but how and why it came to be but I found it to be very dry. In all honesty, I was pretty familiar with the history of the Civil Rights Movement, so I skimmed through some of this. However, once the book started covering the actual events of the Children's March then I couldn't put it down. I appreciated the way it broke it down by each day or a series of days and then covered what happened each day along with what was going on with each teen or child. I also appreciated that the author did not sugar coat what happened to the children or teens involved. What happened to them was brutal between being hosed down, attacked by dogs, and then crammed into jail cells. Yet through it all, there was a sense of maybe not optimism but knowledge that what they were doing was for the greater good of society. I also liked the sidebars that were full of information and was happy that the author provided an epilogue that told the readers what had happened to each of the four participants after the march. Overall, I enjoyed this title and thought the message that it provided along with the history lesson was important one. I think so often that children and teens think that they can't make a difference and this proves otherwise. I also plan to pair this book in my upcoming booktalks with "The Lions of Little Rock" by Kristin Levine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    History is always more approachable when it is told through the perspective of individuals. This book takes this approach to present a lesser-known event in the Civil Rights Movement, at least for some of us. Levinson presents the stories of two girls and two boys before, during, and after the Children's March in 1963 Birmingham. In the process, Levinson also highlights the horrible disparities in our nation that brought about so many events to provide more equality for African Americans. I alway History is always more approachable when it is told through the perspective of individuals. This book takes this approach to present a lesser-known event in the Civil Rights Movement, at least for some of us. Levinson presents the stories of two girls and two boys before, during, and after the Children's March in 1963 Birmingham. In the process, Levinson also highlights the horrible disparities in our nation that brought about so many events to provide more equality for African Americans. I always struggle a bit with this type of book. That is not to say the topic, but instead this format. There is always a great amount of information included in them, but it seems to be presented in a disjointed way, lurching back and forth to present broad coverage of the topic. At the same time, there seems to be little dedication to providing any depth to any of the issues highlighted. There are some really great sidebar pieces, images, and quotes sprinkled throughout the book, but as often is the problem, they don't seem to be placed near the related content within the main text. I think much of these problems comes from the juvenilization of the topic. Besides simplifying the language, the author almost seems to talk down to the reader, creating a sense that the author doesn't believe that younger readers can handle full coverage of the topic either because of complexity or maturity of the issues involved. The result is an oversimplication that doesn't fully serve the goal of creating a book on such an important topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maureen E

    I just finished We’ve Got a Job this morning and, wow. I thought it was fantastic on a number of different levels. First, it’s focused, staying tightly on four main characters, James, Arnetta, Audrey, and Wash. Each of them help to pull out different threads of the struggle the black community in Birmingham faced, because of their different backgrounds and attitudes (Wash, for instance, had a real problem with nonviolence, while the other three were extremely committed to that ideal). Levinson d I just finished We’ve Got a Job this morning and, wow. I thought it was fantastic on a number of different levels. First, it’s focused, staying tightly on four main characters, James, Arnetta, Audrey, and Wash. Each of them help to pull out different threads of the struggle the black community in Birmingham faced, because of their different backgrounds and attitudes (Wash, for instance, had a real problem with nonviolence, while the other three were extremely committed to that ideal). Levinson does pull in contexts that will help the reader understand the background for the story, but she does so minimally, in one or two sentences. At the same time, it read like fiction in the sense of there being a plot, a conflict, a set of stakes. I will admit that it’s also extremely emotional–I got teary at least twice. Finally, one of the things I really appreciated was that Levinson was able to tie together what most of us experience as separate moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, namely the Children’s March in Birmingham, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the March on Washington. But, going back to my earlier point, she is able to do this because her main characters had ties to all three of those events. Reading back over that paragraph, it strikes me that I’m using the language of fiction, probably because Levinson is such a fantastic narrative writer. I should make it clear, though, that it’s also clearly a meticulously researched book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim Erekson

    This was riveting. I couldn't put it down, told with so many primary sources in such a way as to evoke the humanity of each of the key moments. Full of basic outline information I had heard many times before, but with all the empty space in between filled in. The book is very spare on visuals, which is interesting. There must be mountains of visuals, but maybe still under copyright and difficult to get permissions without great expense. Still, those chosen are powerful and well-suited to the mom This was riveting. I couldn't put it down, told with so many primary sources in such a way as to evoke the humanity of each of the key moments. Full of basic outline information I had heard many times before, but with all the empty space in between filled in. The book is very spare on visuals, which is interesting. There must be mountains of visuals, but maybe still under copyright and difficult to get permissions without great expense. Still, those chosen are powerful and well-suited to the moments and chapters they are in. The story moves like a gripping page-turner anyway, so I didn't mind the thicker text. Because each chapter is broken up graphically into episodes with a subheader and divider, there is encouragement to browse. I browsed around a lot at first, and then found myself reading whole swathes of the book in order. So I liked how the structure allowed the freedom of browsing, but then drew me in. The quote-sourcing is thorough and complete, which seems typical for this kind of book. I'm realizing that this style of sourcing seems to come from a journalistic ethic of sources, and so I am thinking it comes from that tradition in writing. It's also good historiography. While I am sure some of the bibliographic items listed for further information would be helpful, because this book relies so heavily on primary sources I always want to be guided directly to the places online where I can see these.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie F

    This book was spectacular!! I was enthralled reading it! I found Cynthia Levinson’s research and interviews to create the four different perspectives amazing and entrancing. It was super engaging to follow the four stories of Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart, Audrey Faye Hendricks, and Arnetta Streeter. Levinson researched and interviewed each of them for their perspective from their childhood and how their families influenced their decisions to march and even go to jail! It is simply ama This book was spectacular!! I was enthralled reading it! I found Cynthia Levinson’s research and interviews to create the four different perspectives amazing and entrancing. It was super engaging to follow the four stories of Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart, Audrey Faye Hendricks, and Arnetta Streeter. Levinson researched and interviewed each of them for their perspective from their childhood and how their families influenced their decisions to march and even go to jail! It is simply amazing to hear their personal versions. I think this book is in some senses more beneficial than a textbook as it provides real life stories and I think has so many opportunities to empower students. If I were using in the upper elementary I think simply a read aloud would suffice for the students to understand the importance these children had on ending segregation. If it were middle or high school I think the students could develop more on each of the main characters or study the timeline development as there is so much action packed into just a few short weeks of time. I also think at the high school level they could study the after-effects of the march. For example, because he marched and went to jail James Stewart was expelled from school. I think it would be enticing for our students to further investigate and respond to some of the after-effects. Overall, I think this book was so spectacular and has so many different classroom uses.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mona Ammon

    Title: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March Where Got From: Audio book from PCPL Book Challenge Category: A NF about something that happened in the decade you were born Review: Wow! It is amazing what people have to endure and what they are able to endure. Even after being “freed” black people in this country had to contented with being lynched, jailed, beaten, bombed, spit on, verbally assaulted, excluded financially and physically. To keep “fighting” through that, and being hope Title: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March Where Got From: Audio book from PCPL Book Challenge Category: A NF about something that happened in the decade you were born Review: Wow! It is amazing what people have to endure and what they are able to endure. Even after being “freed” black people in this country had to contented with being lynched, jailed, beaten, bombed, spit on, verbally assaulted, excluded financially and physically. To keep “fighting” through that, and being hopeful is amazing. I am not saying there was not anger and despair but pushing past that and while failing at times continuing on. The whole non-violent resistance movement is incredible. I am not sure if I could have passively resisted in the face of verbal and physical abuse. To not even be able to passively defend yourself. Then too that the kids were also a part of this movement. I know some people think that it was wrong to allow the kids (teenagers) to participate. I think if they are old enough and informed enough it makes sense. They experience the racism and violence and should have been allowed to help combat it. It isn’t like pro-lifers who bring their 6 year olds to pro-life demonstrations. It isn’t as if the 6 year old is affected directly by abortions and likely do not understand fully what they are demonstrating about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This book tells the important, yet little known story of four young people (as young as 9 years old) who participated in a march in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. They boycotted school to march as a way to protest segregation. The four young people, who came from very different backgrounds, were among approximately 4,000 people who marched, and as a result of their actions, the majority of the participants were arrested and put in jail. This book tells the very personal stories of these children a This book tells the important, yet little known story of four young people (as young as 9 years old) who participated in a march in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. They boycotted school to march as a way to protest segregation. The four young people, who came from very different backgrounds, were among approximately 4,000 people who marched, and as a result of their actions, the majority of the participants were arrested and put in jail. This book tells the very personal stories of these children as well as their parents, and why, even at such a young age they felt compelled to join the movement. Most of the time, the Civil Rights story is presented through the experiences of adults, so the fact that this story is told through the experiences of children makes a deep statement about how devastating segregation was to people of all ages. The book ends with an “Afterworld” section. Here, we read about the lives of the four children in the years after the march, and how they were shaped by these life-changing events. I highly recommend this book for older students. I don’t think it should be read as a “stand alone” read, it should be included in the context of the history of civil rights struggles in America.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Grace Baker

    This book grabbed my attention real quick. Growing up, I heard very little about segregation, and even less the brutality that was caused among the blacks that were in Birmingham, Alabama. I knew that segregation was a thing, but never knew how far it went. Certain restaurants were a no-no, couldn't walk on the sidewalks when white people walked by, the treatment some got by law enforcers, such as the K9 unit attacking those that did not listen, hitting them with the water hose water, clubbing t This book grabbed my attention real quick. Growing up, I heard very little about segregation, and even less the brutality that was caused among the blacks that were in Birmingham, Alabama. I knew that segregation was a thing, but never knew how far it went. Certain restaurants were a no-no, couldn't walk on the sidewalks when white people walked by, the treatment some got by law enforcers, such as the K9 unit attacking those that did not listen, hitting them with the water hose water, clubbing them, as well as some of the remarks that were given. It made me feel sad throughout this book, for I was unaware of all the hardship that they went through during the 1960's and probably even prior. It was the kids who helped in stopping segregation in Birmingham, for there were too many to arrest them all, and those that made a mark in history. Marching in what they believed was right for them and their country, they did it with no hesitation. For without them, who knows what America could have been today.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Audience: Intermediate Genre: Non-Fiction Discussion Questions... Remembering - What church was the Movement 's unofficial headquarters? Understanding - Wash described a "cotton curtain" when it came to news streaming in or out of Alabama. Explain what Wash means by "cotton curtain". Applying - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has asked you to give a short speech to the students before the first student march. What would your speech look like? Analyzing - How would your compare Wash's involvement and commi Audience: Intermediate Genre: Non-Fiction Discussion Questions... Remembering - What church was the Movement 's unofficial headquarters? Understanding - Wash described a "cotton curtain" when it came to news streaming in or out of Alabama. Explain what Wash means by "cotton curtain". Applying - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has asked you to give a short speech to the students before the first student march. What would your speech look like? Analyzing - How would your compare Wash's involvement and commitment to the Movement to James' involvement and commitment? Evaluating - The Movement involved a strong non-violence stance in order to get their point across. Do you agree with this approach to the blacks gaining civil rights? Why or why not? Creating - Pick one of the sources found at the end of the book in the Bibliography and use it to write a news article for the Birmingham World newspaper.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Excellent read which was written at an appropriate level for a middle school reader. Couple of things I want to point out. If you are going to allow your middle schooler to read it, read it with them because the topic is a very difficult topic, but not one that should not be discussed. Secondly, the "N" word is used frequently (apprapro to the time) in the book. I must admit, I did have a hard time with that in a book targeted towards middle schoolers, but again, something that I feel would be s Excellent read which was written at an appropriate level for a middle school reader. Couple of things I want to point out. If you are going to allow your middle schooler to read it, read it with them because the topic is a very difficult topic, but not one that should not be discussed. Secondly, the "N" word is used frequently (apprapro to the time) in the book. I must admit, I did have a hard time with that in a book targeted towards middle schoolers, but again, something that I feel would be subject of discussions with our youth on the inappropriateness of such a disgusting word. I ended up downloading this to my Nook Touch. If you decide to read the book, invest in the print version. I think there important pictures that didn't show up on my Nook. Plus the formatting was kind of goofy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    L.B. Schulman

    I know the author, and I pre-ordered her book. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It was a fascinating glimpse into the civil rights marches, including several led by children who were sent to jail, expelled from schools, and suffered greatly for their sacrifice. In the end, they triumphed, changing several laws and making the world a more equal place. Cynthia did an amazing job with this book, and the photos are compelling, telling the story from all sides. I have a newfound res I know the author, and I pre-ordered her book. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It was a fascinating glimpse into the civil rights marches, including several led by children who were sent to jail, expelled from schools, and suffered greatly for their sacrifice. In the end, they triumphed, changing several laws and making the world a more equal place. Cynthia did an amazing job with this book, and the photos are compelling, telling the story from all sides. I have a newfound respect for protesters and for the black pioneers who fought to make life better. I highly recommend this book, and my fifteen year old is reading it now. I can't think of any age that wouldn't appreciate such a beautiful work. I also plan on reading it to my 11 year old.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Fascinating story. I knew little of this event, since we "put our roller skates on" in American history by the time we got to the 50s and 60s. I like the fact that Levinson included a chapter on why whites felt as they did. I think it helps emphasize how family culture and media cann ingrain ideas. This would be a fabulous read along with The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Why I picked it up: Another early Best of the Best read Why I kept reading: Because it was a story I knew about, but didn't know. I wo Fascinating story. I knew little of this event, since we "put our roller skates on" in American history by the time we got to the 50s and 60s. I like the fact that Levinson included a chapter on why whites felt as they did. I think it helps emphasize how family culture and media cann ingrain ideas. This would be a fabulous read along with The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Why I picked it up: Another early Best of the Best read Why I kept reading: Because it was a story I knew about, but didn't know. I would give this book to: Rachee to share with The Bee. One of the women featured in the story brings up many of the concerns I've heard her express about a younger generation.

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