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W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights

by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Benny Andrews

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-2592-2
Publisher: Candlewick

The story of a boy who grew up to be one of Savannah’s Civil Rights leaders is simply told and illustrated with striking oil-and-collage paintings. Jim Crow informed Westley Law’s childhood, as he and his family endured the routine humiliation of segregation. From this beginning, he grew up to become a voters’ rights activist with the NAACP, an activity that barred him from becoming a teacher; instead, he became a letter carrier, a perfect occupation, it turns out, for a grass-roots organizer. Haskins’s understated text is divided into one-spread “chapters,” a technique that helps to lead readers through the rather esoteric process of non-violence training and protest-organizing. These “chapters” are paired with Andrews’s striking paintings, his elongated forms and elegant verticals underscoring the resoluteness of Law’s protesters and the relative peacefulness of the change he was able to effect in Savannah, in dramatic contrast to much of the rest of the South. This pleasing treatment of one man’s efforts to bring about seismic change is marred by a lack of documentation of quoted material, but is followed up with a biographical note. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)