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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,546 ratings  ·  292 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, Alabama, 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 ci ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Peachtree Publishing Company
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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
Monica Edinger
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For years, one of my favorite teaching materials for the Movement has been the documentary Eyes on the Prizein 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 with a 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 t
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 the vo ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-booktalks
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
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I got a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I selected it because it deals with an event in history that I knew very little about -- the protests and jailing of children and teenagers in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. It is aimed at young readers and focuses on the involvement of 4 kids. I gave "We've got a job" 4 stars for its content. The history is fascinating and disturbing. The narrative of how those few days unfolded conveys the complexity of the tension between and within ...more
Alex  Baugh
Can you imagine letting your children voluntarily go to jail? Well, that is exactly what happened in Birmingham, Alabama on May 3, 1963 when 4,000 young people skipped school in order to participate in the Children's March protesting segregation, a march that they knew would ultimately end with their being arrested. This was a time when the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum - adults and children, supporters and enemies.

Right from the start, Levenson introduces the reader to four of the
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Richie Partington
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll-539
This book follows the lives of four young black students, Audrey, Arnetta, James and Wash, ranging in age from elementary to high school, who were part of the Birmingham Children's March in May of 1963. Each one was from different circumstances, but all four were part of the thousands of black school children who marched the streets of Birmingham that week. For years, black leaders had worked tirelessly to end the Segregation Ordinances in Birmingham, as the Civil Rights Movement was steadily pi ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, ya, j, nonfiction
"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
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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…

Rebecca Graf
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
This book was provided by 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
It’s not often you see a book of primary sources, in this case interviews with subjects, written for a younger audience. And in this case, it was very well-written.

Content area: Social Studies/U.S. History
1. Remembering: What strategy were the protestors using to bring attention to and ultimately end segregation in Birmingham? What were the authorities’ responses?
2. Understanding: Describe the rationale behind and the effects of the “separate but equal” system.
3. Applying: In order for Project C
Caitlin Schoessler
We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson is a chapter book about young children and young adults that voluntary went to jail during the civil rights movement. I enjoyed reading this book because I did not know much about the children’s march. The main characters in the story in the book are Audrey Faye Hendricks, Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart and Arnetta Streeter. These children are participated in the children’s march and got involved with the ...more
Gianna Garces
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
While I ended up enjoying "We've got a job", it did start off very slowly. I found the way the author chose to focus on each teen while providing background of the Civil Rights Movement to be very disjointed. She did cover a lot of information, which is important in understanding not only the Children's March but how and why it came to be but I found it to be very dry. In all honesty, I was pretty familiar with the history of the Civil Rights Movement, so I skimmed through some of this.

Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
History is always more approachable when it is told through the perspective of individuals. This book takes this approach to present a lesser-known event in the Civil Rights Movement, at least for some of us. Levinson presents the stories of two girls and two boys before, during, and after the Children's March in 1963 Birmingham. In the process, Levinson also highlights the horrible disparities in our nation that brought about so many events to provide more equality for African Americans.

I alway
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
Jim Erekson
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
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
Katie F
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
This book was spectacular!! I was enthralled reading it! I found Cynthia Levinson’s research and interviews to create the four different perspectives amazing and entrancing. It was super engaging to follow the four stories of Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart, Audrey Faye Hendricks, and Arnetta Streeter. Levinson researched and interviewed each of them for their perspective from their childhood and how their families influenced their decisions to march and even go to jail! It is simply ama ...more
Mona Ammon
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Title: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March
Where Got From: Audio book from PCPL
Book Challenge Category: A NF about something that happened in the decade you were born
Review: Wow! It is amazing what people have to endure and what they are able to endure. Even after being “freed” black people in this country had to contented with being lynched, jailed, beaten, bombed, spit on, verbally assaulted, excluded financially and physically. To keep “fighting” through that, and being hope
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
This book tells the important, yet little known story of four young people (as young as 9 years old) who participated in a march in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. They boycotted school to march as a way to protest segregation. The four young people, who came from very different backgrounds, were among approximately 4,000 people who marched, and as a result of their actions, the majority of the participants were arrested and put in jail. This book tells the very personal stories of these children a ...more
Grace Baker
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed my attention real quick. Growing up, I heard very little about segregation, and even less the brutality that was caused among the blacks that were in Birmingham, Alabama. I knew that segregation was a thing, but never knew how far it went.

Certain restaurants were a no-no, couldn't walk on the sidewalks when white people walked by, the treatment some got by law enforcers, such as the K9 unit attacking those that did not listen, hitting them with the water hose water, clubbing t
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
L.B. Schulman
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Val Sanford
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous and humbling, this narrative tells the story of the Children's March in Birmingham in May, 1963. Mike and I listened as we drove from Knoxville, Tenn. to Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala. This is the story of the shocking treatment of thousands of children as they marched to the Birmingham Jail in the beginning of the Civil Right's movement that year. Water hoses, guns, tear gas, bombings and broken promises, this is the story of how children captured the minds of America and forced the r ...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.” 3 likes
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