Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to participate in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Jailed nine times before her fifteenth birthday, she fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. Lowery, who still lives in Selma, has written a book about her experience: Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. Through her illustrated memoir, she shows readers what it means to fight nonviolently and how it felt to be part of changing American history.
Lowery and one of her co-authors, Susan Buckley, visited Brookwood’s 7th grade History class on Friday as part of their exploration of the Civil Rights Movement. Students first learned about the legal underpinnings of the Civil Rights Movement, which relied on their understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They looked closely at a handful of Civil Rights episodes, including the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and the Freedom Rides of 1961. Their reading of Turning Fifteen provided context for another chapter of the Movement– the fight for voting rights.
During a Q&A panel with students, Lowery was asked how she found the strength to keep marching, and whether or not she was scared. She replied, “Don’t let fear own you. Recognize the fact that you are scared, embrace the feeling, and then keep on going. I was marching for my belief in equality for all.”
Her story is one of strength, determination and inspiration. Lowery reflected, “I believe that the youth of today will change this nation, and eventually change the world. Children have brilliant minds.”