Now in its fifth year, the tradition of the community book continues to be a great way to start the school year. Our librarians selected one book for the faculty and boys in grades V-IX to read over the summer. This year’s book was This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy.
Students discussed the book in their classrooms, and then were treated to a special visit by both authors last week. This Promise of Change is the story of 14-year-old Jo Ann Allen Boyce who was one of the twelve black students to integrate a public high school in Clinton, Tennessee in 1956, two years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The teenagers and the town of Clinton were thrown into the national spotlight when the town became a hotbed of protests and violence. During their discussion with the boys, Ms. Levy shared images and press clippings from those tumultuous weeks while Ms. Boyce explained to the boys what it felt like to be the target of the town’s anger. The “Clinton 12” had to walk to school down a road lined with a mob shouting and throwing things at the students. Ms. Boyce described it as “walking through a gauntlet of hate.”
Throughout the experience, Ms. Boyce held her head high and remained calm and determined. To this day, she is that same upbeat and positive person. Both authors were so wonderful and patient with our St. B’s boys who clamored to ask their questions.
The boys also enjoyed hearing about the authors’ collaborative writing process. This Promise of Change is written entirely in various forms of poetic verse, from haikus to sonnets.
We are so honored that Ms. Boyce and Ms. Allen took the time to visit with us. Many thanks to the librarians and Mr. Bowcock for organizing yet another inspiring community read.