Monday, May 19, 2014
Non-Fiction Monday: The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the advent of the Civil Rights Movement
The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield. 56 p. Abrams/ Harry N., Inc., January, 2014. 9781419707964. (Purchased.)
In 1953, Barbara Rose Johns, a quiet, studious junior at got fed up over the conditions of her high school. The walls were covered with tar paper and the roofs leaked so badly that students sat under umbrellas when it rained. Attention to the substandard conditions was brought to local board of education along with the observation that the area schools were separate but not equal. The board's promises to look into the matter dragged on and on. Ms. Johns understood that nothing would happen so she organized a student strike and sought help from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
This moving and suspenseful story is told exceptionally well - clearly and simply, yet not overly simplified. Historical context is supplied and plenty of black and white archival photographs enhance the telling. Occasional text boxes provide additional information. A timeline concludes the volume, followed by endnotes, and sources, which include Ms. Johns' handwritten memoir. The Girl from the Tar Paper School is a must-purchase addition to the Civil Rights collection.