Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Revising My Understanding of History

Claudette Colvin:  Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
This book has been nominated for several awards, including a Newberry Honor and National Book Award, and rightfully so.  It isn't a book you will want to snuggle up with but it is a book that is profoundly important to read.

All along, I thought that Rosa Parks was the person who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott and ensuing desegregation that swept through the South.  The reason I thought this?  Well, I was taught it!  We all were--I know because I looked it up in our school's history books!  To find out it just isn't true was a bit of shock. 

Don't get me wrong-Rosa Parks was an amazing woman but her true story is even more surprising.  She has been portrayed as a poor black woman who was little more than a pawn in the hands of police.  To know that she orchestrated and was a leader in the Montgomery Civil Rights movement will have me going to learn more about her story because it certainly isn't the version I learned early on and not the one I want to teach to future generations.

This book is the story of an unknown.  Claudetta Colvin was the person who was first arrested on a bus for refusing to give up her seat; Rosa Parks staged the same thing not much later.  Claudette Colvin wasn't the image the world was ready for--a young black teen, unmarried and pregnant, was not the face the Civil Rights leaders wanted to portray.  Claudette's story touched me in a deep way because she has been denied her true place as heroine in the movement and grew up virtually unknown until this book, and her story, came out.

An important book for current and future generations--hopefully Ms. Colvin's story will get her the recognition she so rightfully deserves.

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