“No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed in Public Park”
“A fence which separates the black side of town from the white side”
“There were signs all through town telling color people where they could and could not go”
“We cater to White Trade ONLY”
“Negro Students Stand Up by Sitting Down”
“Blacks seat in the back, whites in the front”
This week for my book meme I decided to read books about the racial tension which has divided the world and continues to do so. We have heard about the Civil Right movements and what Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and many other protestants bravely did in order to end segregation and start civil rights. Regardless of living in the 21st century, discrimination because of color still exist in the world, but many of us are afraid to say or do something about it. As I read through all these books, it is clear that this racial issue continues to haunt “colored” people! Many of these books have life like watercolor illustrations and vivid pictures which brings the reader closer to the tension that the characters are going through in the book.
Separate Is Never Equal by, Duncan Tonatiuh is a book about ending segregation in public schools and how the Brown Vs. Board of Education event came to happen. It all started when Sylvia Mendez was about to start school and was turned away along with her brothers and told they had to attend the Mexican school. Being young, she could not understand why she was not able to attend this beautiful school, even after she fluently spoke English and was an American citizen! It was not fair or right for them not to be able to attend school just because several white people thought colored people had many faults such as: “For their social behavior. They need to learn cleanliness of mind, manner, and dress. they are not learning at home. They have problems with lice, impetigo, and tuberculosis. They have generally dirty hands, face, neck, and ears.” Being rejected many times, Sylvia’s father decided to organize a lawsuit against the school and eventually won the case.
Back Of The Bus by, Aaron Reynolds this story takes place in Montgomery, Alabama. As we read the book, we learn that black people have to sit in the back of the bus and/or give their seat to a white person , if not they will be arrested. All of a sudden, the bus came to a sudden stop and did not move for an hour or so. Many people got on the bus and apparently some commotion started to happen. It was Rosa Park, a black lady who was not willing to stand up and give her seat to a white man. Because of this, she got arrested and her act of defiance helped changed the nation.
In the book, Freedom on the Menu by, Carole Boston Weatherford we learn about Connie, an eight year old girl who does not understand segregation and what is going on around her. Many were the times she and her momma would go to town to get food and if it was hot, they would go to the snack bar in the five-and-dime store to have a coke. However, black people were not allowed to sit at the lunch counter and they had to stand. “All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and could’t go. Signs on water fountains, swimming pools, movie theaters, even bathrooms.” Because of all of these and many other events, Dr. King gave his speech and among other students and protestors, equal rights started to slowly appear.
Clover could not understand and always wondered why that long fence separated the black side of town from the white side. And why did that girl always sit on the fence? In the book, The Other Side, by Jackeline Woodson, we learn about Clover, a black girl, and Annie, a white girl, who are separated by a gate, and do not understand why. Yet, this obstacle does not prevent the girls to talk to each other and eventually build a friendship.
Hatred and prejudice was all around Ruby Bridges. Everything got worse when she started school at an all-white elementary school, especially, being the only black student there. Through faith and courage, Ruby leads by example and teaches us that we must not hate those who hate us. Instead of hating those people, she would pray for them; “Please God, try to forgive those people. Because even if they say those bad things, They don’t know what they’re doing.”