By: Caison Gray
On pages 134 and 135 of the book, the young African American children of Birmingham Alabama are participating in the march of their lives. These children are marching for their equal rights, even though their parents had been just arrested for the same reason. They have the goal of finishing the march that their parents started.
These two pages helped me better understand the tension that existed between the black and white community at the time of the march, no matter the age of the participants. During the Civil Rights Movement, thousands of minors were arrested for vocalizing their idea of equality. Humanity allowed for the lines to become so blurred over the color of an individual’s skin color, that children suffered just as much as adults. When learning about the Civil Rights Movement, we predominately discuss the adult figures that made an impact. However, these two pages, and the majority of the book and other sources we have discussed, show me the amount of “unnoticed” individual’s that had an impact. Children had a huge impact on the Civil Rights Movement, yet they are rarely discussed when learning about this societal milestone.
The size of the illustration on page 135 also left me with quite an impression. As a reader, having the illustration take up the entire page drew me in and forced me to look at the details in front of me. I felt a stillness within the faced-paced writing of the book, slowing me down and fully absorbing the impact the illustration had. I saw a young black girl standing her ground in front of an adult white police officer. The girl is standing straight up, with her shoulders back, and head held high. The white police officer, however, is lowered onto his knee in order to be at the eye-level of the girl. Then a simple, yet powerful dialogue is exchanged between the young black girl and the adult white officer. The dialogue was a powerful display of the powerful involvement of children in the Birmingham March and the injustice of the Alabama police department.
The fact that a young black girl had the strength to face her fear and stand up to an adult white police officer proves the fact that there was hope during the Civil Rights Movement. Nothing was going to stop the African American community from achieving and fighting for the rights they deserved.