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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom - My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley

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Advance Reviews of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

“I was profoundly moved by Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. There were pages where I realized I wasn’t breathing—and that’s what this book did, left me breathless with its clear-eyed and thought-provoking accounts of what it meant to be a child on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. Lynda Blackmon Lowery has an extraordinary story. . . For anyone who has ever wondered what it was like during the movement, for anyone who has ever wanted to change something, for anyone who has ever believed in something so deeply that fear became even less than an afterthought, this book is for you.”

–Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and other Young Adult books

"In this vibrant memoir, Lowery's conversational voice effectively relates her experiences in the civil rights movement . . . .Vivid details and the immediacy of Lowery's voice make this a valuable primary document as well as a pleasure to read."
Kirkus (starred review)

"Lowery's dogged participation as a teen in the fight for equal civil rights--as told to Leacock and Buckley (collaborators on Journeys for Freedom and other titles)--offers a gripping story told in conversational language. . . In time to mark the march's 50th anniversary, this recounting informs and inspires."
Publisher's Weekly

"Lowery's voice is consistently engaging . . . . A strong addition to the canon of civil rights books for young people."
Horn Book

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom is extraordinary—unlike any other book for young readers I’ve seen. Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s is a unique and essential voice in civil rights literature, and her personal stories of unfathomable courage are conveyed with wrenching clarity. Exquisite.”
–Cynthia Levinson, author of We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March

“This book is Lynda Lowery’s story, which she tells compellingly with Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley. I hope it will be widely read: it’s a tale of bravery and a story we all need to consider; it is part of our American heritage.”
–Joy Hakim, author of A History of US

“Lynda Lowery’s story is an extraordinary and untold chapter of the civil rights movement—a testament to the power we each have within us to stand up for what is right and to make the world a better and more just place.”
–Dan Sturman, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker

Lynda Lowery is truly a hero of the civil rights movement—her story is touching and inspiring. All of us who treasure freedom and equal rights owe her our gratitude.”
–Bill Guttentag, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker


[After the march]

I went home to Selma and back to school. But I was a different person. We still had mass meetings, but we didn’t march or go to jail anymore.

I learned a lot of things in those four days, and one of them was about fear—how to respect it and how to embrace it. I also learned that I was not alone, that there were a lot of people—white as well as black—who really cared about what happened to me, Lynda Blackmon, and to the black people of Selma, Alabama.

I had learned so much, I just had to think about it all for a while. And while I was thinking, something happened. On August 6, 1965, the United States Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.. We had won! My buddies and I who had gone to jail so many times had won. Everyone on that march to Montgomery won.

We were determined to do something and we did it. If you are determined, you can overcome your fears, and then you can change the world.

The Selma Movement was a kid’s movement. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were making history. You have a voice, too, and with determination, you can be a history maker just like me.