We Are Your Children by P. O’Connell Pearson

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We Are Your Children Too tells the story of how a black community led by its students campaigned for change in Prince Edward County. The book starts by explaining the past history of the area and how Barbara Johns led a student strike in 1951, starting a nationwide campaign for change. It tells us how the handful of white supremacists that ran the county ruined the lives of black children. It explains how through the effort of people like Reverend Griffin and William Vanden Heuvel, the schools were finally reopened and integrated. It tells us how racism in America continues today, even though changes have been made, as it ends the story in 2020.

This book wonderfully outlines the struggles of the black community, some of which sadly continues to this day. What makes this book so compelling to me is the writing style, which portrays the struggles that individual people faced. It really helped me understand how the citizens on both sides of the cause must have felt about the events unfolding around them. The end of chapter 14 beautifully summarised the change in American culture throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

The most memorable thing to me about this book was the individual stories about black students, especially the ones that traveled across the country and were taken in by families. Stories about how students were taken in by a holocaust survivor, a Tuskegee Airman, and a Japanese-Italian couple really struck a chord with me. This book changed the way I see the Civil Rights movement by showing me the effort and courage of everyone who fought for it, and how the work of random students like Barbara Johns can change history.

Reviewed by Tristan M., Twin Hickory Area Library

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