In her introduction to Remember: The Journey to School Integration
, Toni Morrison sets readers on a journey toward understanding the events of the era of "separate but equal" schooling. The book, which is also the story of America's journey toward tolerance, will be published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court handed down a decision ending the legal segregation of American schools. In Remember
, Ms. Morrison places the decision in the context of the civil rights movement and describes both the hope and the pain that followed in its wake. She was inspired to create the book by the treasure chest of archival photographs she found depicting this watershed era in American history.
These photographs were the catalyst for the book; their power is extended by Ms. Morrison's imaginative rendering of the words and emotions of the children who lived during this period. Striking sepia-toned photographs depict the fears and struggles but also the everyday lives of the children involved in school desegregation. The simple and moving text takes them out of history and makes it seem as if they were classmates or neighbors today. Together, the dialogue and images introduce young readers to this painful yet inspirational time in our nation's history and remind them of its relevance today. They will think about how it felt not to be able to attend school because of the color of one's skin, and how the efforts of brave yet ordinary citizens made it possible to do so.
Ms. Morrison eloquently recalls her own participation in the civil rights movement and the joy she felt upon hearing of the Brown
decision. "Toni Morrison is a master storyteller who takes readers on a stunning visual and narrative journey. Remember
gives voice to the faces that painted the civil rights landscape of America in years past," says Andrea Davis Pinkney, vice president and publisher, Houghton Mifflin Children's Books.
is sure to be part of a national remembrance of a tumultuous time and a groundbreaking legal decision. But it is more than an account of America's past it is also the story of our continuing journey toward equality and tolerance. A monumental struggle on the part of so many Americans, young and old, set our country down the right path. Remember
will inspire today's children to continue the journey that was begun more than fifty years ago.
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children has created a companion video for Remember
, narrated by Ms. Morrison. The video includes photographs and captions from the book as well as archival footage and music from the period. Ms. Morrison speaks to an audience of young people about her reasons for creating this important book, and calls on today’s children to be active in fostering tolerance in their schools and communities. If you would like a copy of this video, please contact Children's_Books@hmco.com
. The video is available online
; an abbreviated version and additional resources on Toni Morrison and the Brown v. Board of Education
decision will be available at www.teachingbooks.net
Follow these links to view a video of images from Remember
and hear Ms. Morrison discussing her inspiration for creating the book.
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