Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone: The Brown vs. Board of Education Decision
Gr. 6-12. Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling to desegregate public schools, this volume collects stories, memoirs, and poems about the history and impact of Brown v. Board of Education. The contributors, well-known writers for young people, were themselves young in 1954, and they speak from different sides of the racial barrier. Some selections, such as Joyce Carol Thomas’ poem “Stormy Weather” and Quincy Troupe’s challenging essay “St. Louis,” speak powerfully about the searing discrimination that blacks have suffered. Others, such as Jean Craighead George’s “The Awakening,” talk about “white blindness”: “I was as slow to see this injustice as a bear awakening from hibernation.” The illustrated format, featuring arresting pastel images by James, seems geared to younger readers, but some of the entries are fairly sophisticated. Teachers will need to pull out the selections best suited to their students, but all the passages will bring children up close to the complex realities of segregated society, while showing that the ruling was only the first step on a long, continuing road to progress.