Sunday, January 22, 2006
Freedom on the Menu, the Greensboro Sit-Ins
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2005. FREEDOM ON THE MENU, THE GREENSBORO SIT-INS. Ill. By Jerome Lagarrigue. New York: Dial. ISBN 0803728603 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
Enjoying a trip to the dime store snack bar with her mother, Connie wonders why they can’t sit down at the counter and enjoy a banana split like another little girl is doing. “”Can I have a banana split?” I begged Mama. “Not here, Connie.” said Mama. “I’ll fix you one at home.” “Won’t be the same,” I grumbled. All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and couldn’t go.” The illustrations quickly point out to readers that Connie can’t sit at the counter because she is black. As the story progresses, Dr. Martin Luther King comes to town to speak, Connie’s older brother and sister join the NAACP, and one Saturday, Connie and her mother arrive at the snack bar to find four young black men sitting at the counter.
The turmoil of the 1960’s civil rights movement is difficult to convey in a picture book format, but Weatherford does an excellent job here. Connie’s mother matter-of-factly explains the racial prejudice of the time, and why four college students felt the need to protest at the lunch counter. Beautiful illustrations manage to convey the pride of Connie’s family and transcend the ugliness of the “whites only” signs and the store manager’s ugly attitude. Weatherford includes an author’s note with a photograph of the “Greensboro Four” and details about the sit-in and it’s effect on racial inequity.
Talk with readers about that changes that came about after the Greensboro sit-ins, and how things are different now. Follow up with a reading of Julius Lester’s LETS TALK ABOUT RACE.
Other books by Weatherford:
REMEMBER THE BRIDGE: POEMS OF A PEOPLE. ISBN 0399237267
SIDEWALK CHALK: POEMS OF THE CITY. ISBN 1563970848
About the civil rights movement:
Johnson, Angela. A SWEET SMELL OF ROSES. ISBN 0689832524
Miller, Jake. SIT-INS AND FREEDOM RIDES. ISBN 0823962539
By Tammy Korns