Civil Rights Movement

An introduction to one of the defining issues of our time, with a focus on the involvement of young people in the Civil Rights Movement.

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff
Abby Takes a Stand

Patricia C. McKissack
Juvenile Fiction – J Mckissa
Scraps of Time

Gee recalls for her grandchildren what happened in 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee, when she, aged ten, passed out flyers while her cousin and other adults held sit-ins at restaurants and lunch counters to protest segregation.

Birmingham 1963: How a Photograph Rallied Civil Rights Support

Shelley Tougas
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Tou

Explores and analyzes the historical context and significance of the iconic Charles Moore photograph.

Birmingham Sunday

Larry Dane Brimner
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Bri

Describes the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963 by Ku Klux Klan members, which killed four girls and sparked race riots in Birmingham, and discusses how the event contributed to the civil rights movement.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Paula Young Shelton & Raul Colón
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 She

A daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young describes her experiences of growing up in the Deep South at the height of the movement, sharing her witness to the efforts of her father, family friend Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of others who participated in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Phillip Hoose
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 Colvin Hoo

Presents the life of the Alabama teenager who played an integral but little-known role in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-1956, once by refusing to give up a bus seat, and again, by becoming a plaintiff in the landmark civil rights case against the bus company.

Freedom Song: Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Mary C. Turck
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 782.421592 Tur

Demonstrates how different songs in history have served as a unifying voice of the people during the Civil Rights Movement, including "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and "We Shall Overcome."

Freedom’s Children

Ellen Levine
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.119 Le

Southern black Americans who were young and involved in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s describe their experiences.

Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box

Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Early Juvenile– EJ Ban

A tale based on the true story of a family's struggle for voting rights in the civil rights-era South follows a young boy's witness to a day when his proud, hardworking grandfather dresses in his best suit and goes to town so that he can vote for the first time.

Lillian’s Right to Vote

Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans
Early Juvenile – EJ Win

As an elderly woman, Lillian recalls that her great-great-grandparents were sold as slaves in front of a courthouse where only rich white men were allowed to vote, then the long fight that led to her right--and determination--to cast her ballot since the Voting Rights Act gave every American the right to vote.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

David Aretha
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 975.3041 Are
The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in Photographs

Discusses the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, including the causes for the march, how the march was organized and its leaders, the important speeches, and the impact it had on the civil rights movement.

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary

Elizabeth Partridge
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Par

An examination of the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this book focuses on the children who faced terrifying violence in order to walk alongside him in their fight for freedom and the right to vote.

Nobody Gonna Turn Me ‘Round

Doreen Rappaport
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Ra

Introduces readers to the people, armed with the songs and strength passed down from their ancestors, who profoundly impacted the American civil rights movement.

Oh, Freedom!

Casey King and Linda Barrett Osborne
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.119 Ki

Interviews between young people and people who took part in the civil rights movement accompany essays that describe the history of efforts to make equality a reality for African Americans.

Papa’s Mark

Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert
Early Juvenile– EJ Ba

After his son helps him learn to write his name, Samuel T. Blow goes to the courthouse in his Southern town to cast his ballot on the first election day ever on which African Americans were allowed to vote.

Riding to Washington

Gwenyth Swain
Juvenile Fiction – J Tales Swa

A young white girl rides the bus with her father to the March on Washington in 1963--at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would give his "I Have a Dream" speech. She comes to see that Dr. King's dream belongs not just to African Americans but to all Americans.

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

Hester Bass
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Bas

Discover how the black and white citizens of one Alabama city chose peace over violence in the struggle to end segregation.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Andrea Davis Pinkney
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Pin

This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.

Speaking Out: The Civil Rights Movement

Kevin Supples
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Su
Crossroads America

This book illustrates the origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Jim Crow laws, the start of the NAACP, and the end of World War II to the ultimate division between philosophies as seen through Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. The simple text is punctuated by high-quality photographs and bolstered by quotes from important figures discussed on that page.

The Bus Ride

William Miller
Early Juvenile – EJ Mi

A black child protests an unjust law in this story loosely based on Rosa Parks' historic decision not to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

The Civil Rights Movement for Kids

Mary C. Turck
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.119 Tu

Describes the struggle for civil rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s and profiles important civil rights leaders. Includes suggested activities.

The March from Selma to Montgomery

Jake Miller
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Mi
The Library of the Civil Rights Movement

Depicts the repeated efforts of civil rights advocates to march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, only to be interrupted by National Guardsmen.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Christopher Paul Curtis
Juvenile Fiction – J Curtis

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Through My Eyes

Ruby Bridges
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 Bridges Bri

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in 1960.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

Lynda Blackmon Lowery
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Low

A 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in historic civil rights events.

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song

Debbie Levy
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 782.42162 Lev

A celebration of the history of the struggle for freedom, as reflected through moments when the iconic song "We Shall Overcome" was sung explains how the song has come to represent civil rights and freedom around the world.

When the Children Marched

Robert H. Mayer
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 May

Discusses the Birmingham civil rights movement, the great leaders of the movement, and the role of the children who helped fight for equal rights and to end segregation in Birmingham.

Witnesses to Freedom

Belinda Rochelle
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.119 Ro

Describes the experiences of young black Americans who were involved in significant events in the civil rights movement, including Brown vs. Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the sit-in movement.