We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
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We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  500 ratings  ·  165 reviews
We ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent c...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Peachtree Publishers
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Newbery 2013
37th out of 116 books — 1,086 voters
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Barb Middleton
When the Red River crested in 1997 the water was filling up the streets like a bathtub and moving so fast I couldn't get sandbags piled around our house quick enough. My husband was working and I was chiseling ice off the grass so the water wouldn't seep under the sandbags. I knew it was a losing battle and plugged desperately away lugging 40 pound bags in a semicircle as the water inched closer. When a college student popped around the house saying loudly, "Hey, you need some help?" I thought a...more
Kimberly
In the early 1960s, a group of black protestors made their way through Birmingham marching for Civil Rights. They were sprayed with fire hoses by local authorities, the impact of the water so forceful that it sheared the hair off the side of Carolyn Maull’s head. Others were hurled against brick buildings. One boy was lifted into the air. They were assaulted with glass bottles and bricks thrown by onlookers from neighboring buildings. They were attacked by German shepherds set loose by police of...more
Barbara
Thanks to Mighty Times: The Children's March, a film distributed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance, Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White (2011) and Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009), I knew something about the role of children and teens in the Civil Rights Movement, but this new title covers the territory even more thoroughly by focusing on the role of four youngsters who played parts in keeping the campaign for fair treatment alive. Through th...more
Rose
An engaging, informative narrative in the history of Civil Rights from the perspective of several African-American youths standing up in the face of oppression in 1963. "We've Got A Job" toggles between personal accounts of children who marched in protest of discrimination and informative passages that illustrate examples of the laws that were enacted during that time, derogatory social attitudes, and harsh realities that African-American men, women, and children endured. The work also contains...more
Monica Edinger
For years, one of my favorite teaching materials for the Movement has been the documentary Eyes on the Prize,in particular the section focusing on the 1963 Birmingham Children's Campaign. And so I was delighted to enter Levinson's focused examination of this particular historical episode. She begins witha prologue:
On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail.

“I want to go to j
...more
Wendy
While I thought this was a bit long, and I sometimes had trouble keeping the timeline straight, this is an impressive achievement. Every time I think "okay, I've got it" about children's involvement in the civil rights movement--I've read quite a few books on the subject over the last three years or so--I learn something new or discover a new way of looking at the situation, and that was true here several times over. I think this meets every Newbery criterion, especially excelling in style and s...more
Irma
Jul 20, 2014 Irma rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle-aged children, high schoold students, teachers
We’ve Got a Job authored by Cynthia Levinson tells a story of approximately 4000 children who fought for their civil rights during the 1960s. Levinson, a former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, aims to provide her readers with as much information as possible about the experiences, prejudices and hardships African Americans encountered during this era. She does so by focusing on the events and experiences of children during the Civil Rights Movement.
Like many Americans,...more
Marissa
What would one sacrifice for equality and justice? We’ve Got a Job tells the story of the struggle the African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama had to endure against the city’s racist culture. This story is told through the eyes of four heroic children: Wash, Audrey, James, and Arnetta. It tells of their experiences against segregation and police brutality and their fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Who knew that children would be the key turning point in changing history…

Cynt...more
Gianna Garces
Cynthia Levinson wrote this fascinating book telling the story of 4,000 children who came together to stand up for their rights and beliefs in 1964. This side of the story is seldom told, we mostly hear about prominent leaders in the Civil Rights movement such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. Before this book I wasn’t aware that such a large number of children held a march in Birmingham, as young as nine years old. I was saddened to know I wasn’t taught this when I was in grade school...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: WE’VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH by Cynthia Levinson, Peachtree, February 2012, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise”
-- Paul McCartney

“These are our heroes, and they still walk among us today. One of them may be sitting next to you as you read this, or standing in the next room making your dinner, or waiting for you to come outsi...more
Jim Erekson
This was riveting. I couldn't put it down, told with so many primary sources in such a way as to evoke the humanity of each of the key moments. Full of basic outline information I had heard many times before, but with all the empty space in between filled in.

The book is very spare on visuals, which is interesting. There must be mountains of visuals, but maybe still under copyright and difficult to get permissions without great expense. Still, those chosen are powerful and well-suited to the mom...more
Maureen E
I just finished We’ve Got a Job this morning and, wow. I thought it was fantastic on a number of different levels. First, it’s focused, staying tightly on four main characters, James, Arnetta, Audrey, and Wash. Each of them help to pull out different threads of the struggle the black community in Birmingham faced, because of their different backgrounds and attitudes (Wash, for instance, had a real problem with nonviolence, while the other three were extremely committed to that ideal). Levinson d...more
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
reviewed for NetGalley.com

A fascinating middle school & high school nonfiction book about the teens who were instrumental in the Birmingham marches in the 1960s. In the spring of 1963, adults were worried about their families, safety and their livelihood and were afraid to march for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama. Who could blame them after the way several of the leaders of the movement were treated in jail.

At nightly meetings, Birmingham teenagers were motivated and mobilized to march...more
Rebecca
We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March/ Cynthia Levinson/ 2012

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Book
Summary: We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in...more
Rebecca Graf
History is full of untold stories or stories that you hear about and quickly dismiss because they are not 'big' enough to dwell on. Cynthia Levinson takes you to one segment of American history in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March where she reveals the battle of desegregation, racism, and prejudice not only with the big leaders like King but also with the young children of Birmingham, Alabama.

The tension between groups in the 1960s over where the blacks should and should not...more
Kristine
This book was provided by www.netgalley.com in exchange for a review. The kindle copy I received was an uncorrected proof, which affected the flow of the story. The author used years of research and interviews with individuals who marched, and weaves their stories together. At the beginning it does effect the cohesiveness to be jumping around so much, but I'm hoping it improved with editing for final copy.

I consider myself pretty well educated about the civil rights movement. The marches, the l...more
Chris
"I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. Her father had even bought her a new game she'd been eyeing. Audrey imagined that it would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cell block.

That morning, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she'd be absent. Mrs. Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her.

She also hugged all four grandpar
...more
Michelle
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Non-Fiction
Discussion Questions...
Remembering - What church was the Movement 's unofficial headquarters?
Understanding - Wash described a "cotton curtain" when it came to news streaming in or out of Alabama. Explain what Wash means by "cotton curtain".
Applying - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has asked you to give a short speech to the students before the first student march. What would your speech look like?
Analyzing - How would your compare Wash's involvement and commi...more
Lori Gedwillo
Can children really make a difference in the world. Author Cynthia Levinson, learns that a story she remembers studying in grade school,the 1963 Birmingham March, was mainly made up of children who decided that it was time to do something. The author retells the story from the viewpoint of 4 children who actually marched. Great photos support this unique point of view.
Christine
This was a great book. It's appropriate for 4th and up. It is pretty explicit on what was going on during the civil rights movement and I think shows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a very different light. He wasn't as perfect as, at least I thought he was. It does show how powerful children can be in making changes to their world.
Naomi
Excellent read which was written at an appropriate level for a middle school reader. Couple of things I want to point out. If you are going to allow your middle schooler to read it, read it with them because the topic is a very difficult topic, but not one that should not be discussed. Secondly, the "N" word is used frequently (apprapro to the time) in the book. I must admit, I did have a hard time with that in a book targeted towards middle schoolers, but again, something that I feel would be s...more
Anne
This put many things about Birmingham during the Civil Rights Era into perspective for me. I think it would be a good tool or supplement to assist teachers who are talking about the civil rights movement, or who wish to provide an inspiration for their students about their ability to make change.
L.B. Schulman
I know the author, and I pre-ordered her book. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It was a fascinating glimpse into the civil rights marches, including several led by children who were sent to jail, expelled from schools, and suffered greatly for their sacrifice. In the end, they triumphed, changing several laws and making the world a more equal place. Cynthia did an amazing job with this book, and the photos are compelling, telling the story from all sides. I have a newfound res...more
Amy
Fascinating story. I knew little of this event, since we "put our roller skates on" in American history by the time we got to the 50s and 60s.

I like the fact that Levinson included a chapter on why whites felt as they did. I think it helps emphasize how family culture and media cann ingrain ideas.

This would be a fabulous read along with The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Why I picked it up: Another early Best of the Best read

Why I kept reading: Because it was a story I knew about, but didn't know.

I wo...more
Stefanie Skrdla
1. "The Rock and the River" by Kekla Magoon, 2010.

2. I chose "The Rock and the River" as my twin text because I thought it did a great job of providing an in-depth and vivid depiction of what it would be like to be an African American teen in the 1960s. The non-fiction selection shares personal profiles of four main children who took part in the Children's March, but it speaks to a situation that included three to four thousand kids overall. So, "The Rock and the River" provides a nice contrast...more
Rachelle
This is the fascinating story of a civil rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. Birmingham was one of the most racially divided cities in America. Blacks wanted integration and equal rights but both law and social norms were insurmountable walls. When adult participation in sit-ins and other protests lagged, children began to demonstrate. Police tactics to disperse groups of protesters were not well received when the people involved were children and the events that followed lead t...more
Judi Paradis
Another strong addition to Civil Rights literature for kids. Cynthia Levinson follows four young people (aged NINE! to 17) who participated in the Birmingham Children's March in 1963--a Martin Luther King, Jr.-led effort to fill the jails with people arrested for breaking segregation laws to draw attention to the injustices of the Alabama segregation laws. The book uses the stories of these four students to spin out the rather astonishing story of how King's church-based, non-violent protest act...more
Edward Sullivan
A thoroughly informative, completely engrossing, and truly inspiring account of how the children of Birmingham saved the civil rights movement from failure in that city. Levinson's narrative is particularly notable for chronicling the heroic actions of four young protestors. This is an excellent companion read to Larry Dane Brimner's Black and White.
Jennifer
Chances are that when the civil rights movement for racial integration is brought up, the names that come to mind are along the lines of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Who knew that children and young adults played a crucial role in this time in history as well, getting hosed and attacked by dogs just like the adult protestors and marchers? There is such irony in the idea of willingly being imprisoned in jail in order to secure ultimate freedom-- and yet that is exactly what thousands of...more
Kelli
While this book's audience is middle to high schoolers, I would recommend this as a must-read for all. This book tells the story of the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of four children who lived it. While it focuses on their stories, there is also ample supporting details telling of what was going on around the nation as well. This book focuses on the youth involvement, specifically the Children's Campaign which I was shocked to have never heard of as it was such a pivotal point in the Ci...more
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“On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, there was something important she had to do. "I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother. Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready.” 2 likes
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