Meet Lynda Blackmon Lowery coauthor (along with Elsbeth Leacock & Susan Buckley) of the 2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winning Title for Older Children, ‘Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March.’
Read a summary of the book
Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s conversational tone is engaging and compelling as she shares her experiences as a young teen in the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. Beaten badly on Bloody Sunday in Selma in early March of 1965, she went on to be the youngest person on the march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights later that month. Lowery includes memories of her activism leading up to those events—she was jailed nine times—providing context and deeper understanding of her passion and commitment. Her courage did not preclude her from being fearful, and this is part of what she honestly details. A beautifully designed book also includes striking full-color graphic illustrations by PJ Loughran and archival black-and-white photographs. The volume concludes with an accounting of and tributes to those who died in the struggle in Alabama in early 1965 and more information about fight for voting rights, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and ongoing challenges to it. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison, 2016
Listen to Lynda explain how she came to participate in the Civil Rights movement and to be the youngest person to march to Selma for Voting Rights in 1965. Take special note of what she has to say about the part children played in the movement.
Now listen to Lynda (at an earlier time) tell about how truly scared she was to join the Selma March and where she found the courage and strength to stay the course.
Take a look at PJ Laughran’s illustrations of ‘Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom.’ As you look at each picture, pay attention to the emotion and questions it evokes in you.
Now Let’s Get To Next Steps!
Guiding questions for your reading, writing, thinking and acting:
What really surprised you as you read the book summary, listened to Lynda, and looked through PJ’s gallery of illustrations? Write out the specifics of at least three things that surprised you. For each, write about how you feel about it and what questions it brings up. What for you was the most important thing that Lynda had to say? Go back and find her words and write them down. Finish up by writing why that message is important to you.
Lynda shared how racism hurt her and her family terribly. Racism still exists and it is still hurtful to our whole culture. She stated that as a young person she learned to meet racism with steady loving confrontation and that we today must face racism with steady loving confrontation all the time, not just when an injustice is in the news. Depending on our circumstance racism affects us in very different ways. Where have you felt or clearly recognized racism in your experience? Zorell (age 13) says, “You can make change no mater what age you are.” How do you wish you could make change? How could you use steady loving confrontation to make this change? Write out your answers to the questions, expect that your answers will grow and change with time. These are questions we all need to keep answering!