A powerful recollection of the horrors encountered—and the battles won—in the fight for integration, and an urgent call to...

THE WORST FIRST DAY

BULLIED WHILE DESEGREGATING CENTRAL HIGH

A debut illustrated memoir—written for younger generations—offers details of the brutality that the black students who desegregated an Arkansas high school faced.

Eckford was nervous and excited beginning her first day at the prestigious all-white Central High in Little Rock. She was one of the nine black students (the Little Rock Nine) chosen to desegregate the school in 1957. Her story details the horror of that day, laying bare the raw hatred spewed at blacks and the political calculations of Gov. Orval Faubus. He had announced on TV: “Blood will run through the streets if negroes attempt to attend Central High,” and then activated the National Guard to prevent the black students from entering the school. Lacking a telephone, Eckford’s family wasn’t alerted to the plan for the Nine to approach the school as a group, escorted by black and white ministers. Fifteen-year-old Eckford arrived alone. Blocked from going into the school, she returned to the bus stop through the hate-filled segregationists screaming racial epithets and yelling: “Lynch her, lynch her!” While the Nine eventually attended classes under the protection of the 101st Airborne Division ordered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety, the viciousness of the white students continued throughout the school year: “We routinely endured items being thrown at us and being burned by cigarettes.” The engrossing narrative includes a description of the Supreme Court ruling that prompted school integration (Brown v. the Board of Education) and the people who made it happen, along with period photographs and drawings. Eckford’s potent and timely story is intended for a young audience unfamiliar with the details of school desegregation as experienced by their grandparents. The prose is simple and to the point, written from the perspective of a young teen: Navigating “between the soldiers and the angry crowd,” she thought: “Why is this happening? Can’t anyone help?” “If I were your daughter…would you protect me then?” Eurydice Stanley and Grace Stanley provide strong closing essays advocating continued vigilance against contemporary injustices.

A powerful recollection of the horrors encountered—and the battles won—in the fight for integration, and an urgent call to oppose today’s social and political oppression.

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997661-7-0

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Lamp Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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