The Teachers March!

How Selma's Teachers Changed History

Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama, but he needed a “triumphant idea” to ignite the campaign. As a teacher he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs, and perhaps their lives, by organizing a teachers’ march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, 105 African-American teachers did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. In this extraordinary true story of bravery and perseverance, the authors highlight the critical moment when the teachers took action and gave thousands more the courage to march, leading to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As part of their research, the Wallaces interviewed teachers and students involved in this little-known, pivotal civil rights event and conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his recent death.

  • A Junior Library Guild selection

Star iconSTUNNINGLY POWERFUL … The Wallaces pack their account with well-researched details so that readers get to know Reverend Reese and others as people as well as activists, and Palmer’s vibrant acrylic paintings intensify the urgency of the moment ... The marching teachers inspired other groups—beauticians, barbers, undertakers—to organize, but most significantly, they inspired students to participate. A timely testament to the power of collectivism and the continued need for widespread civic engagement.Booklist (starred review)