by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace
352 pages; ages 12 & up
Calkins Creek, 2016
So why is a biography of some white guy being featured during Black History month? Because Jonathan Daniels worked for voting rights, and it’s still an issue.
Still. An. Issue.
Rich and Sandra Wallace have produced an information-packed (and very heavy) volume that explores the life and times of Jonathan Daniels, a white cleric from New Hampshire who answered the call from Martin Luther King, Jr. to join blacks in their struggle for voting rights. It was dangerous, in the 60s, to challenge the segregated ways of the south.
This book follows Daniels’ life from childhood in Keene, NH through college in Virginia Military Institute, through his entrance into service in the ministry. In 1963 Daniels, studying at the Episcopal Theological School, had been serving residents in Providence, RI. He believed that the church should be active in promoting social change, and even joined the March on Washington. When Martin Luther King, Jr, asked for help, Daniels responded.
In addition to being an intriguing biography, the text and photos present documentary evidence of the struggle that black people faced. Even though they had the right to vote, segregation and southern laws prevented them from casting ballots. The Wallaces put history into context using multiple points of view.
The photos and primary documentation is invaluable. They also include a note on their research and forensic analysis of a photo. Also provided are a timeline, bibliography, resources for those who want to investigate further, and source notes for quotes. The only thing I wish had been done differently is to present text on white pages; black print on blue is difficult to read.
It’s Nonfiction Monday!
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