This year, I was a CYBILS judge for the nonfiction (sure, I can read 140 books including 40 novel length books in two months and blog about them and work full time also! No problem!) Actually, I was a teeny bit of a failure, I only got 110 read. One that I absolutely loved was a novel in verse, PROMISE OF CHANGE: ONE GIRL'S STORY IN THE FIGHT FOR CHANGE by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy.
PROMISE OF CHANGE is the true story of fourteen-year-old Jo Ann Allen's story of school integration. Allen was growing up in Clinton, Tennessee, in the early 1960's, when Brown vs. Board of Education was passed.
In an early chapter, Levy and Allen describe Clinton this way:
3,500 white people
220 black people
1 movie theater, where Negroes may only sit in the balcony
1 swimming pool, where Negroes may not go at all
1 fun rec center, with bowling alleys, pingpong tables,
badminton- but not for Negroes
1 public library (only Negroes aren't part of the "public")
1 public high school (whites only)
1 drug store, where Negroes may buy things, but may not
linger and definitely may not sit and eat at the lunch counter
where, I hear, they serve chicken salad sandwiches made
0 restaurants where Negroes may eat
Segregation. Separate, not equal.
The way it is and has always been.
JoAnn and eleven of her friends were forced to start high school at Clinton High School. And face discrimination and loneliness and even threats on their lives.
A terrific novel in verse.
Sally Murphy is hosting this week's Poetry Friday. Be sure to head over there for lots of great poetry.