Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Published by Scholastic 5/27/2014
In the summer of 1964, the headquarters for SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and the Mississippi Freedom Project are located in Greenwood, Mississippi. The Mississippi Freedom Project is designed to education African-American children and adults and to conduct a voter registration drive. It is a summer of turmoil because white Mississippi takes offence of the Freedom Summer invaders and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Churches and crosses were burned, people were beaten and arrested, and three Freedom Summer workers were murdered. Revolution tells the story of upheaval in Greenwood, Mississippi during this summer through the eyes of Sunny a white girl, her step-brother Gillette, and Raymond an African-American boy.
Deborah Wiles once again stuns readers with a powerful story told not only through fictional characters, but through photographs, quotes, and lyrics which provide readers with a more thorough understanding of that summer. She cleverly inserts juxtapositions between the Freedom Workers’ invasion and the Beatles’ invasion and the US’s commitment to Vietnam with their lack of commitment to African-Americans in Mississippi to get us thinking. In addition, Ms Wiles superbly brings in crucial side stories about Bob Moses, LBJ, Muhammad Ali, and Wednesday’s Women & Dorothy Height which offers a deeper insight into the time period. Needless to say, we as readers are privileged to read this insightful story. Thank you Deborah!
WARNING: Readers of all ages may have a visceral reaction to pamphlets & flyers written by the KKK, the words of Governor Wallace, and communications from the town of Greenwood. Librarians, parents, and teachers – please use this opportunity for discussion about Civil Rights and the 14th amendment.
For older readers who’d like a more thorough account of the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner and subsequent lack of justice, I recommend The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell, published by Scholastic.