Author Feature-Cynthia Levinson

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

Cynthia Levinson

Cynthia Levinson

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Having written non-fiction articles for numerous magazines, Cynthia Levinson's first full length book for young adults is We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March. After travels in six different countries, and living in three, she is now settled in two cities, spending the fall season in Boston, Massachusetts and the rest of the year in Austin, Texas. Ms. Levinson is married to a University of Texas professor (Go Longhorns!), and she is also a mother and "gramma".

Some of her favorite things to do include reading, cooking, (but not eating okra!), gardening (her favorite plants for her backyard are impatients), yoga and swimming. She enjoys the arts: concerts, museums, plays and movies that are not violent. Studies at Wellesley, Harvard and LBJ School of public affairs, led to her career of 25 years "making schools, teaching, and policies better for kids". That career seems to be continuing with her writing, as evidenced by the numerous honors her first book has garnered. 


 

Find her on the web:

Author Website

Book Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Interviews

 


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Book Trailer



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A Long Walk to Freedom Reading Quiz

Printable Copy

Questions

  1.  The salute to Freedom 63 was held to raise money to: 
    1. rebuild a church that had been bombed
    2. bail out freedom marchers still in prison
    3. send activists to a march in Washington
    4. create scholarships to send black students to school
  2. James Stewart experienced racism first hand one evening when he was:
    1. followed by a group of white boys driving in a car 
    2. forced by drunken white men to clean up broken glass in the street 
    3. refused treatment by several doctors after an accident
    4. arrested for walking through a white neighborhood
  3. Audrey decided she would act rather than just attend meetings after she:
    1. went to an inspiring speech given by Jackie Robinson's wife
    2. had an informal talk with MLK Jr. when he stayed in her home 
    3. saw a group of white teenagers drag a black boy down the street 
    4. watched a policeman allow his dog to attack an elderly black man
  4. What did Wash do at the Double D day march on Friday May 3?
    1. he took pictures of police brutality
    2. he helped carry the injured to the doctor 
    3. he threw stones at police and firemen 
    4. he took food and water to the marchers 
  5. What happened at the Birmingham meeting where Jesse Jackson was speaking?
    1. Bull Connor locked everyone inside 
    2. bricks came crashing through the windows 
    3. a bomb threat was delivered to Jackson 
    4. the power went out over the entire block 
  6. What happened on the day Bull Connor called the worst of his life? 
    1. the city council replaced him as commissioner 
    2. segregation ordinances were ruled unconstitutional 
    3. he was officially charged with abuse of office 
    4. his son told him he supported the project C marchers
  7. What did MLK Jr. call one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story?
    1. the decision by hundreds of white church goers to join the march 
    2. the arrival of busloads of supporters from all around the South 
    3. the refusal of firemen to turn their hoses on marchers going to a pray in 
    4. the bountiful meals sneaked into the jails by sympathetic city employees 
  8. Pam Walbert said she felt flooded with the Holy Spirit as she 
    1. shared a can of soda with a group of black kids
    2. gave her umbrella to an elderly black woman 
    3. heard the jailed black girls singing gospel songs 
    4. watched her father care for an injured black boy
  9. What was the signal to launch demonstrations at Kelly Ingram Park on May 2? 
    1. school PA announcements saying it was a fine day for freedom 
    2. a morning message on the radio by a black DJ 
    3. three rapid knocks on doors by volunteers on each block 
    4. steady tolling of the bell at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church 
  10. The "C" in the Birmingham plan named "Project C" stood for: 
    1. compassion 
    2. courage 
    3. capture 
    4. confrontation  

Answer Key

  1.  c
  2. a
  3. d
  4. c
  5. c
  6. a
  7. c
  8. a
  9. b
  10. b


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Academic Program
Our Job: Holding on, Going On: Photos Forever 

Printable Copy

Introduction/Purpose of Program 

In this age of digitization, we see pictures everywhere. Digital cameras now document everything current, and our history is not often preserved. We all know the adage “One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”-and with that, it is imperative to preserve the picture, and the words, in order to preserve the understanding of the surrounding time and emotion. This program provides opportunities to delve into the past, as well as to preserve the future, using photographs as the central core.

TEKS

§113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6

(1) History. The student understands that historical events influence contemporary events. The student is expected to:

(B) Analyze the historical background of various contemporary societies to evaluate relationships between past conflicts and current conditions.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(15) Culture. The student understands the similarities and differences within and among cultures in various world societies. The student is expected to:

(D) Analyze the experiences and evaluate the contributions of diverse groups to multicultural societies;

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information about various world cultures;

(C) Organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps;

(D) Identify different points of view about an issue or current topic;

(E) Identify the elements of frame of reference that influenced participants in an event

§113.19. Social Studies, Grade 7

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(1) History. The student understands traditional historical points of reference in Texas history. The student is expected to:

(B) Apply absolute and relative chronology through the sequencing of significant individuals, events, and time periods

(11) Geography. The student understands the characteristics, distribution, and migration of population in Texas in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The student is expected to:

(A) Analyze why immigrant groups came to Texas and where they settled;

(B) Analyze how immigration and migration to Texas in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries have influenced Texas;

(19) Culture. The student understands the concept of diversity within unity in Texas.

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas;

(B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions;

(C) Organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps;

(D) Identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants;

(E) Support a point of view on a social studies issue or event;

(F) Identify bias in written, oral, and visual material;

§113.20. Social Studies, Grade 8

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(23) Culture. The student understands the relationships between and among people from various groups, including racial, ethnic, and religious groups, during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The student is expected to:

(A) Identify selected racial, ethnic, and religious groups that settled in the United States and explain their reasons for immigration;

(B) Explain the relationship between urbanization and conflicts resulting from differences in religion, social class, and political beliefs;

(C) Identify ways conflicts between people from various racial, ethnic, and religious groups were resolved;

(D) Analyze the contributions of people of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups to our national identity; and

(E) Identify the political, social, and economic contributions of women to American society.

(29) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about the United States;

(B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions;

(C) Organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps;

(E) Support a point of view on a social studies issue or event;

(F) Identify bias in written, oral, and visual material;

(D) Identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference which influenced the participants;

Detailed Description of the Program

Quite often, I am reminded of just how little time has actually passed from the Civil Rigths Movement until today, especially when a student shares with me their family connection to MLK, or an event, or some other historical aspect of the times. The book "We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March", written by Cynthia Levinson, includes many primary source photographs to illustrate this particular time in history. The program that follows includes a variety of photo-centered activities designed to document the past and the present using photographs. Activities may be selected individually, combined from this list and/or combined with the self-directed and active programs, depending on the needs of the user.

Using photographs from the past and present as the central theme, participants will be invited to:

A. Activity: Holding On-What's my Stand?

Select a photograph from either your own family history or from a time period in which the people in your home may have settled in the area. Research the time period to determine underlying causes (economic, religious persecution, war, famine, etc) that may have encouraged them to settle in the area. Attempt to discover if and how they may have participated in, any social/government/neighborhood causes and/or demonstrations.

Develop a presentation, including the original photograph, and include the following: statement declaring whether or not you believe you would have participated in the same manner.

Would you have chosen the same course of action? Provide at least three reasons to support your decision.

If you were to choose a different course, what would it be, and what would three reasons be for this course of action.

B. Going On-What's My Stand?

What issues are taking place in our country/your country of origin now? What might be coming that you would feel will cause a movement? Using provided databases or one of the photo archives listed below, (ABC-CLIO, Netrekker, GALE, EBSCO, etc) find a photograph that represents this issue. Describe the issue. Declare where/when you might take your stand, including documentation. 

www.usatoday.com/media/latest/photo/news 

Using current photos, select one that represents an issue you would stand up for, determine the issues that led up to the photo, and predict what you believe will happen in the near future.

Use mybigsky.com, upload the photo, and create a new digital image by manipulating the original and adding your "my stand is" message. Will your new image be the newest meme to go viral?

C. Photos Forever: What are the "1000 words"?

The saying goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words. Choose a picture from a social/political/domestic movement (migrant workers, child labor, hunger, etc). Pictures can be provided on line http://www.historyplace.com/ or from magazines or books (ie-folder idea from the teacher in Fat Cat). Research the movement. With 1000 words, describe what you believe might be the thoughts of the person in the picture.

Or...

Life magazine was once considered the premiere venue for capturing the moments in life that represented not only the momentous but also the everyday in every life. Use Life Photo Gallery.com to:

a.) Photo of the week: find out more about what was happening in the lives of the people in the photo. What might they be discussing during the photo op?

b.) This month in history: using the calendar, find a photo to represent either the date closest to the day you are working on this, or the date closest to your birth date. Explain the circumstances surrounding the photo and why you selected this one over others

D. Photos Forever: Web Archiving

Select a website to archive that documents either your current culture or a culture you claim a historical heritage. Archive the website with America's Young Archivists, and prepare a short presentation including the following:

The web site

The culture

3 reasons why this site was chosen

Two things you hope this culture will be positively remembered for in the future

America's Young Archivists: The K-12 Web Archiving Program

Description: Students who participate in the K-12 Web Archiving program use Archive-It to capture websites. They decide what websites to capture and they attach a brief description to every site they archive so that people in the future will know what the sites are about and why the students selected them. By enabling students to preserve websites, the program gives them an opportunity to not only document their culture and learn about the fragility of digital content, but their work also becomes a primary source of information for future researchers.

E. Activity: Photos Forever

Using a device to capture photographs (personal/school issued cameras, tablets):

Document a day in the life of a middle school student

Document a day in the life of your home

Document a day in the life of your family preparing participating in a celebration

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

Up Before Daybreak by Deborah Hopkinson

Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange

My Backyard History Book by David L. Weitzman

Photos that made US History by Edward Wakin

The American Spirit: Meeting the Challenges of September 11 published by LIFE Books, editor Robert Sullivan

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage by William Loren Katz

Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Here in Harlem: A Poem in Many Voices by Walter Dean Myers

Book series: A Child's Day (in an Indian Village, in a Brazilian Village, in a Chinese City, in a Ghanaian City, in a Russian City) . Benchmark Books.

Additional titles may be found here. 

List of Supplies

  • A device to capture photographs (personal/school issued cameras, tablets)
  • List of appropriate presentation tools (Powerpoint, Prezi, Glogster, etc) 
  • Photo scanner (any scanner with a flat bed should work well) 
  • Computers/internet access

Resources (print and electronic)


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Active Program

Protest Signs and Slogans

Printable copy

Introduction/Purpose of Program

One of the signature visuals of civil rights marches and protests -- and marches and protests of any kind -- are signs carried by the protestors. Many of these signs include slogans that have become part of the modern lexicon. The purpose of this activity is to encourage participants to use critical thinking skills in developing slogans and signs for various causes. To challenge participants to think and stretch beyond their personal opinions the causes will be drawn randomly from a hat.

Detailed Description of Program

  1. Librarian or teacher will determine the causes for which he/she wants the participants to develop slogans and create signs. The causes may be tailored to the age group participating. Suggestions include, but are not limited to: 
    • For/against homeless rights or providing assistance programs for the homeless 
    • For/against green energy sources (e.g. wind turbines, solar panels) 
    • For/against homosexual rights (e.g. same sex marriage, refusal to serve homosexuals) 
    • For/against school uniforms or standardized dress 
    • For/against private school vouchers 
    • For/against fighting global warming 
    • For/against government-funded health care 
    • For/against only healthy foods and beverages to be served in school cafeterias 
    • For/against legislation supporting equal pay for women
  2. Write causes on slips of paper and place in a hat or box. 
  3. Put participants in groups of two or three. 
  4. Have each group draw a cause from the hat or box. 
  5. Allow groups to have time to discuss and research the causes they have drawn. Resources may include books, databases, and websites. (see resources below)
  6. Once participants have discussed and researched their causes give them time to brainstorm slogans. A rhyming dictionary may be helpful, although rhyming is not required.
  7. Provide participants with supplies to create their signs.
  8. Once signs are complete, lead groups in discussing what thought processes went into determining the slogans and the designs of the signs, and the group as a whole can discuss the effectiveness of each cause's slogans/signs.

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

  • McWhorter, Diane. A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. New York: Scholastic, 2004. Print.
  • Partridge, Elizabeth, and Jim Hoover. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. New York, NY: Viking, 2009. Print.
  • Samad, Anthony Asadullah. 50 Years after Brown: The State of Black Equality in America: African Americans' Continuing Pursuit of 14th Amendment Rights. Los Angeles, CA: Kabili, 2005. Print.

List of Supplies

  • Scratch paper (for brainstorming and designing)
  • Poster board
  • Markers

 

Incentives

  • Students may be allowed to keep their signs or choose to display them in the library on in a display case.
  • Cupcakes with small protest signs inserted on picks may be served as refreshments.

Resources 

Print

Any books from the "Opposing Viewpoints" series from Greenhaven Press

Blumenthal, Karen, and Jay Colvin. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. New York: Roaring Brook, 2011. Print.

Dash, Joan. We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909. New York: Scholastic, 1996. Print.

Essential Library of Social Change. N.p.: Essential Library, 2013. Print.

Electronic

Facts on File Issues and Controversies database

 

Helpful Program Items

Bulletin board featuring enlarged photos featuring protest signs from Vietnam War protests, civil rights protests, environmental protests, etc. Phrase at top of bulletin board: "What's your slogan?"


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Self-Directed Program
Our Job: Holding on, Going On-Photos Forever 

Printable Copy

Introduction/Purpose of Program

In this age of digitization, we see pictures everywhere. Digital cameras now document everything, and our history is not often preserved. We all know the adage "One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words"-and with that, it is imperative to preserve the picture, and the words. This program provides the opportunity to do so, by creating a venue for library patrons to preserve and post their histories. Many libraries around the country are beginning to provide a forum for the members of their communities to share, and thereby save, the photographs and stories that create the background of our current society, many more are searching and developing programs to make this a reality. This program provides the opportunity to do so, by creating a venue for library patrons to preserve and post their histories. 

TEKS

§113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(1) History. The student understands that historical events influence contemporary events. The student is expected to

(15) Culture. The student understands the similarities and differences within and among cultures in various world societies. The student is expected to:

(D) analyze the experiences and evaluate the contributions of diverse groups to multicultural societies;

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information about various world cultures;

§113.19. Social Studies, Grade 7

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(1) History. The student understands traditional historical points of reference in Texas history. The student is expected to:

(B) apply absolute and relative chronology through the sequencing of significant individuals, events, and time periods

11) Geography. The student understands the characteristics, distribution, and migration of population in Texas in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The student is expected to:

(A) analyze why immigrant groups came to Texas and where they settled;

(B) analyze how immigration and migration to Texas in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries have influenced Texas;

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas;

§113.20. Social Studies, Grade 8

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(23) Culture. The student understands the relationships between and among people from various groups, including racial, ethnic, and religious groups, during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The student is expected to:

(A) identify selected racial, ethnic, and religious groups that settled in the United States and explain their reasons for immigration;

(29) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about the United States;

(B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions;

(D) identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference which influenced the participants

Detailed Description of the Program

Much like the nation-wide Storycorps project, this program provides the opportunity to create your own legacy memory project for your library community. Community library members would be invited to upload photos, written and recorded stories documenting the historical connection to the community, beginning with the first documentation of the family joining the community until the present time.

Examples:

eBlackCU: A collaborative portal on African-American history and culture in Champaign-Urbana. Everyone is welcome to use and add to the website

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: For a school campus, students would be encouraged to bring in photos/documents of family members to scan and upload into an online site. 

Schools could organize pages/exhibits according to their feeder patterns, their neighborhoods, and/or their subdivisions-if desired.

For a non-school site, community members would be able to scan and upload off-site, as well as bring in photos and documents. Non-school library organization could include by neighborhood, subdivision, businesses, etc

Making it happen:

  1. Devote web space for the project. Determine your hosting capabilities (cloud or server).
  2. Set up a web presence. This could be a page on your current library site, or a link to a new web portal.
  3. Determine the items you are willing to host: pictures, written word, pod casts, etc. Develop templates for each (see sample template in #10)
  4. Create a photo scanning/pod cast recording space inside the library, if possible.
  5. Get the word out. Create flyers (see example in #10), create an inviting display waiting to welcome patrons, and include bookmarks/flyers/brochures with every checkout.
  6. Encourage participation by giving out incentive stickers "I'm Holding on, Going On"

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge
A long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Courage has no Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels by Tanya Lee Stone
Tell All the Children our Story by Tonya Bolden
Up Before Daybreak: Cotton and People in America by Deborah Hopkinson
Across America on an Emigrant Train by Jim Murphy
The African Texans by Alwyn Barr
My Backyard History Book by David Weitzman
Harlem Stomp by Laban Carrick Hill
 

List of Supplies

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Document/photo Scanners 
  • Voice recording equipment
  • Data storage/hosting program
  • Incentive stickers 
  • Display books 
  • Advertising

Incentives

Create “I’m Holding On, Going on” stickers/bookmarks etc (much like “I Voted” stickers) for participants. Stickers may be personalized with local library information

Resources

Professional Resources (for librarian and teacher use)

Program Flyers, Posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

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Resources

Academic Program

Active Program

Annoted Bibiography

Book Quiz

Read-A-Likes

Self-Directed Program

Sticker Template


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact the YART webmaster.

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Created on Mar 25, 2014 | Last updated July 15, 2015