What did you do on your fifteenth birthday? Go out to dinner
with your family? Have friends over for a party, maybe to spend the
night? Chances are you didn't wake up in a huge tent with over a
hundred other girls and women and spend the day marching toward
Montogmery to fight for voting rights, hearing passing motorists
screaming vile insults, being well aware of the possibility of snipers
and bombs. Then again, you probably hadn't been in jail nine times by
the time you turned fifteen.
Lynda Blackman Lowery, narrator of Turning 15 On The Road To
Freedom was born in 1950. "In those days, you were born black or you
were born white in Selma [Alabama]--and there was a big difference."
When she was seven her mother died. Her father would not let his
children be split up. Her grandmother moved in to help out,
strengthening Lynda with messages like, "There is nothing more
previous walking on this earth than you are. You are a child of God..."
Sadly not all the Selma denizens agreed with this loving
appraisal. Many places were whites only...including the voting
booth. Out and out refusal to register blacks, enabled by tests the
whites didn't have to take, as voters and showing photographs of those
who tried to bosses who had the power to fire them kept elections
pretty much out of reach--even for the teachers who were considered
the best and brightest. Can you imagine being a teen and having this
basic right denied to your parents and teachers?
Lynda was one of the determined young people who was not going
to put up with this injustice anymore. She and her peers had to face
dangers most of us don't have to confront in a lifetime. Her
narrative, told in an authentic young teen's voice, is amazing and
inspiring. Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom is the perfect read for
a child or parent feeling overwhelmed by all the bad things going on
in today's world.
On a personal note, it bugs the living daylights out of me that, after
what so many went through to get us the right to vote (which women,
for example, haven't even had a century) so few of us exercise it.
They have better participation where people can get killed at the
polling place. Do we stop valuing a right once we don't have to fight
A great big shout out goes out to all informed voters. Way to rock
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod