The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History

Written By: Sandra Neil Wallace & Rich Wallace

Illustrated by: Charly Palmer

For Ages: 6 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: History, Black Culture & Identity, Racism, Segregation, Activism, Historical Figures.

Summary: This week for #sweetsandsocialjustice I wanted to pair a well-known event with a well-known dessert, pound cake! This book was secondary project created out of information and activists that the authors learned about when interviewing other activists involved in the Selma voting rights movement in the 1960’s. The authors then met Reverend F.D. Reese, the main character in this story. Through historical sources and interviews came this personal look into what has been credited by MLK Jr. as the first and one of the most important demonstration by Black teachers of the Civil Rights Movement/Modern Black Freedom Struggle.

Reverend Reese was an educator in Selma, and loved to teach the concept of freedom. Frustrated that it didn’t apply to his Black community, he became involved in voting rights activism. The story follows both Reese and another teacher nicknamed Too Sweet as they march through the Selma streets to demand opportunities to vote. The illustrations are beautiful and convey so much movement on the page. Protest and marching is a pillar of social justice, and our right as citizens to make our voices heard. We have so much farther to go in order to dismantle the systemic oppression that operates unchecked in our society, but making sure we teach momentous events such as this one can begin to reverse these wheels and create a more equitable world.

This book was kindly sent by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Boyds Mills & Kane as a submission for the #bookstagang_bestof2020 list! However, all opinions and decisions to review are my own.

Recipe: Pound Cake

Ingredients: Traditionally pound cake is made with equal 1# measurements of 4 basic ingredients: eggs, sugar, butter, and flour. I typically weigh out my ingredients, so here is what worked for me if you don’t have a kitchen scale!

2c soft butter (I use salted)

2c brown sugar

3 1/4c flours

9 large eggs (if you use extra large eggs you’ll probably need less)

1T vanilla extract

1t lemon extract

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 and spray a 10 cup bundt pan or 2 smaller loaf pans. Cream together butter, sugar, and salt. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing in between, and then extracts. I add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing in between and scraping down sides. Bake for about an hour for the bundt pan, and check after 30 minutes if using loaf pans. For the bundt, it will be dark brown and crunchy on the sides, which I personally love in a pound cake, but if you’re not a big fan then feel free to make smaller loaves. Sometimes I add chocolate chunks, or drizzle a powdered sugar glaze, depending on how I’m feeling. If you want a more heavy lemon flavor, use less vanilla extract, and you can also add in blueberries to the batter for a lemon-blueberry cake! It’s a versatile recipe that has endless variations.

Sandra Neil Wallace

SANDRA NEIL WALLACE IS AN AUTHOR AND ADVOCATE for change. Known for her investigative journalism and original narrative style, her books for young readers focus on people who break barriers and change the world. As the daughter of a refugee and concentration camp survivor, Sandra became a changemaker herself. The first generation in her family to attend university, she became a journalist, anchoring the network news before shattering the glass ceiling in sports television as the first woman to host an NHL broadcast on national TV. Her books have won national awards including NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction, SCBWI’s Golden Kite Honor Award, ILA’s Social Justice Literature Award, and been chosen as Best Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus, Booklist, and the New York and Chicago Public Libraries.

Sandra became a U.S. citizen in 2016 and advocates for social responsibility in her community as a co-founder of the Keene International Festival and The Daily Good, a non-profit making the daily lives of community members better. An advisor to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, she is the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award for peace & nonviolence and the Keene Sentinel’s Extraordinary Women Award. Sandra lives in New Hampshire with her husband and frequent collaborator, author Rich Wallace.

Charly Palmer

Charly Palmer was born in 1960 in Fayette, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee. He relocated to Chicago to study Art and Design at American Academy of Art and School of the Art Institute. As a graphic designer and illustrator, he has run a successful design studio with a Fortune 500 clientele. As an instructor, he teaches design and illustration and painting at the post-secondary level—most recently—Spelman College. Currently, Palmer devotes his life to his creative goals and has established himself as a fine artist of note.

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