And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems

And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems
Age Range
Release Date
February 01, 2022
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In stunning verse and vivid use of white space, Erica Martin's debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement—from the well-documented events that shaped the nation’s treatment of Black people, beginning with the "Separate but Equal" ruling—and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation's centuries-long fight for justice and equality.

A poignant, powerful, all-too-timely collection that is both a vital history lesson and much-needed conversation starter in our modern world. Complete with historical photographs, author's note, chronology of events, research, and sources.

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And We Rise
(Updated: August 26, 2022)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
What worked: Powerful journey of the Civil Rights Movement shown with poetry. The years covered are 1950-1960s. There's mention of Emmett Till: The Black Panther Party; Malcohom X; and Martin Luther King. There's also individuals that helped with the movement that I didn't know about. One such person is Claudette Colvin who refused to leave her bus seat in 1955. This was before Rosa Parks.

I loved how Martin used repetition to drive across the intensity of an event. One example is 1959 March 5 in which twenty-one Black teenage boys lost their lives at the Negro Boys Industrial School in Arkansas. The word 'body' is used twenty-one times. Each time for each death.

Illustrations, photos, and news clips are woven throughout, adding to the strength of this impactful book. At the back is a timeline that shows the dates of events. Also, there is a list of sources. Plus, an additional bonus is "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr.

As a former bilingual teacher, I know how important it is to have books that show historical events. As someone who loves poetry, I feel this format will appeal to readers. There's a great use of stanzas and space. The beat and rhythm of each poem reinforce a past that needs to be told. If only not to be repeated.

Insightful journey of the Civil Rights Movement told with poetry and a collection of historical photos.

Good Points
1. Powerful journey of Civil Rights movement from the 1950s-1960s
2. Great use of stanzas and space
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