Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom
On February 8, 2019, fifth graders in Ashli Wilson’s class at DC Prep Edgewood Middle Campus in Washington, D.C. read Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March as a part of the Black Lives Matter in Schools Week of Action.
Wilson asked the students how the book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom related to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
A student stated that the police brutality of Bloody Sunday reminded them of how police sometimes treat protesters today. Another student stated how people’s movements were limited then and limited now. Further, they stated how some people aren’t allowed into the country because of skin color. A student also mentioned the unequal representation of people of color in the media then and now and how that leads to stereotypes.
The second part of the activity was focused on the principles, Black Families, Black Villages, and Black Women. Students identified members of Lynda’s (main character of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom) community and how they helped her. Then they listed members of their community and villages and how they help them.
Wilson told students about her community and village that help her. She brought in artifacts and explained to students that her family grew up in Virginia when schools were segregated. The artifacts were books her family used during segregation.
The lesson ended with students discussing Lynda’s life story as an example of how to stand up for themselves. A student stated, “even if we are young, we can still have an impact.”
Story submitted by Nqobile Mthethwa.