Sunday, October 2, 2011

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose


Hoose, P. (2009). Claudette Colvin: Twice toward justice. Farrar Straus Giroux: New York.

Although the Civil Rights Movement is well-known and well-documented history, this informational book had a lot of foreshadowing, implying to the reader that the climax of all the combined events was going to be huge. This story centers around Claudette Colvin, a teenager living in Montgomery, Alabama, who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman nine months before the famous Rosa Parks did the same thing. There was enormous tension in this city during the 1950’s. Segregation was in full swing and laws that other states had adopted regarding anti-segregation simply did not apply in Montgomery. African-Americans were angry yet fearful. Many events occurred to spur the people into action. A sixteen year old boy was falsely accused of raping a white woman and sentenced to death. Tension mounts. People refusing to give up their seats to whites are arrested, bus boycotts are organized, more arrests for African Americans challenging the laws, and the Bell Street Baptist Church is bombed. All these events culminate in the lawsuit that ended segregation on public buses. My favorite scene is early in the book when we get a glimpse at just how strong Claudette is. She decides she will no longer straighten her hair in an effort to look white. She states, “All of a sudden it seemed like such a waste of time to heat up a comb and straighten your hair before going to school.” This is such a great informational book for teens. It is packed with pictures and the writing style is easy to read with a good portion being the words of Claudette. It certainly gave me a lot of information about Civil Rights that I did not know.

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