Race Against Time

The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men

In October 1919, a group of Black sharecroppers met at a church in an Arkansas village to organize a union. Bullets rained down on the meeting from outside. Many were killed by a white mob in what became known as the Elaine Massacre. Others were rounded up and arrested. Twelve of the sharecroppers were hastily tried and sentenced to death. Up stepped Scipio Africanus Jones, a self-taught lawyer who'd been born enslaved. Could he save the men's lives and set them free? Through their in-depth research and consultation with legal experts, award-winning nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace examine the complex proceedings and an unsung African American early civil rights hero in this multiple award-winning book.


Race Against Time

  • An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

  • Winner, NCSS Carter G. Woodson Book Award

  • Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award

  • A Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers

  • An Evanston Public Library 101 Great Books for Kids

  • NCSS CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

  • CCBC Choices Best of Year Children's Book

  • Finalist, The New-York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize

  • A Junior Library Guild selection

  • Missouri Association of School Librarians, Dogwood Readers Award Finalist

  • Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Finalist

  • Association of Indiana School Library Educators (AISLE) Read Aloud Indiana Book Award

Star icon

COMPELLING … An epilogue, informative author's note, copious bibliography, and detailed chapter notes help round out this testimonial of an often-overlooked landmark event in the early history of civil rights.

Booklist (starred review)
Star icon

IMPORTANT … provides insight into a historic injustice towards Black Americans by telling a story that is not commonly known. The work is extremely well researched … lend[ing] itself to discussions on the civil rights movement and law procedures, appealing to both middle school and high school students ... This example of an early civil rights hero is a recommended addition to both middle and high school libraries.

School Library Connection (starred review)

This GRIPPING story shines a light on another hidden hero of the struggle for rights for African Americans. An important, well-researched narrative, rich in historical context, is enhanced by archival photographs and glimpses into the lives of working men and women who sought economic fairness and the protections of the United States Constitution. A powerful story of tireless determination for justice in the face of overwhelming odds.

Kirkus Reviews