In 1965, Lynda Blackmon Lowery turned 15 during the three-day voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
In this vibrant memoir, Lowery’s conversational voice effectively relates her experiences in the civil rights movement on and before that march. The youngest person on the march, she’d already been jailed nine times as a protester, once for six days and once in a hot, windowless “sweatbox” where all the girls passed out. At a protest on “Bloody Sunday,” earlier in 1965, a state trooper beat her so badly she needed 35 stitches in her head. The terror of that beating haunted her on the march to Montgomery, but she gained confidence from facing her fear and joining forces with so many, including whites whose concern amazed her after a childhood of segregation. Lowery’s simple, chronological narrative opens and closes with lyrics of freedom songs. Appendices discuss voting rights and briefly profile people who died on or around “Bloody Sunday.” Double-page spread color illustrations between chapters, smaller retro-style color pictures and black-and-white photographs set in generous white space will appeal even to reluctant readers.
Vivid details and the immediacy of Lowery’s voice make this a valuable primary document as well as a pleasure to read. (Memoir. 11-16)