Friday, January 10, 2020

THE PROMISE OF CHANGE by JoAnn Allen and Debbie Levy

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:

Clinton Tennesse
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
from roosters
not hens
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.


Irene Latham said...

This is next up on my TBR stack! (Just finished FREE LUNCH, which was also powerful.) Thanks for your work on the committee! xo

Janice Scully said...

I would love to read The Promise of Change. Thanks. I've been reading novels in verse lately. So many good ones out there.

Linda B said...

I need to read this & it's on my list, coming from the library soon. What a terrible time for them it must have been. Thanks for highlighting this one, Carol.

Linda Mitchell said...

Thank you for being a nonfiction judge. I am a round 2 nonfiction judge and am up to my eyeballs in reading. I am getting back to a book in a few minutes. Thank goodness for audible. It helps in a pinch for a couple of books. And, thanks for the rec of this book. I love novels in verse for history as it brings things alive that only poetry can. I need to read this one! (after Cybils of course)

Sally Murphy said...

What a reading task - and you did so well!
And now there is another verse novel on my wish list! Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

So many many books, so little time--thank you for reading on my behalf! This looks fascinating. The more stories like this, the better!

Kay said...

So many books! Thank you for reading and sharing. This one looks fabulous.

Phillip Scollin said...


There is very much more to read on this. You may get online college classes that focus on this.


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Kimberly Hutmacher said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I'm adding this title to my to-read book list. And WOW at how many books you've managed to read! Thank you for doing this.

michelle kogan said...

Congrats Carol on making it through so many books–what a job! I especially like the one you shared with us, thanks!