Let the Children March
Illustrated by Frank Morrison, Written by Monica Clark-Robinson
In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison’s emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson’s moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.
Primary Source Pairing:
“The path may be long and troubled, but I’m gonna walk on” the children sang as they marched. The Children’s March Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 was a turning point for the Civil Rights Movement. The bravery and determination of the children who marched for a better future made national news. For this primary source pairing, use an image of the water hoses being sprayed on the children who were marching. Invite students to compare what they see in the image with their experience reading the text. As an extension, invite students to view a PBS documentary titled “Birmingham and the Children’s March” where adults who marched as children are interviewed.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What’s happening in the image?
- How does this image make you feel?
- Make a connection with what you see in this image and something you read in the book Let the Children March.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Protestors in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, on 3 May 1963, being hit by a high-pressure water hose being used to disperse people during a civil rights protest” photograph by – http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0309/lm04.html
“Birmingham and the Children’s March” PBS Documentary, published 04/25/2013: https://www.pbs.org/video/religion-and-ethics-newsweekly-childrens-march-50th-anniversary/