I must admit that I didn’t know about the Children’s Crusade of 1963 until I read this book. I was awed by the commitment and bravery of these children who marched in protest of segregation and significantly impacted the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King reflected on this event writing, “Looking back, it is clear that the introduction of Birmingham’s children into the campaign was one of the wisest moves we made. It brought a new impact to the crusade, and the impetus that we needed to win the struggle.”
I read this book to my fifth graders in an effort to broaden my students’ understanding of the setting of another book we were reading aloud – brown girl dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir. Woodson described how her neighbors secretly planned peaceful protests in Greenville, South Carolina. To my delight, my students were not at all surprised that children also protested and made a big difference in the fight.
“These kids were leaders.”
“They raised their voices and didn’t listen to the negative comments.”
“These children made the adults pay attention.”
“They are just like Ruby Bridges, Malaya, and Greta.”
Reading Let the Children March with your students shows them that they have the power to change the world for the better.