This Promise Of Change, by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy, is a true story about an African-American girl’s fight for school equality. When the story begins in 1956, Jo Ann Allen is attending a high school that is an hour away from where she lives. There is only one high school in her town and it is for whites only. But that soon changes when the Supreme Court declares that all schools must be desegregated. That is when Jo Ann’s world turns upside down. She and her friends become the first people of color to attend the high school in their town of Clinton, Tennessee.
This book pulls you into a world where people are hated, face violence, and are even hospitalized just because of the color of their skin, or because they helped a person of color.
In This Promise Of Change, I felt like I was living the story. It is written as a poem, and it does an excellent job of showing the emotions that Jo Ann faced: the fear of the mob that attacked her school and village, the loneliness of being isolated from her classmates, the sadness of being treated like she was below everyone, and the love for family.
This book shows you just how much people fear change and how far they will go to stop it. The angry mob grew so large that the National Guard stepped in with tanks to keep the peace. This story makes you feel what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racism.
When I was reading this book, I thought it was fiction because of all of the awful things that Jo Ann and her friends experienced. I didn’t realize that it was non-fiction until I read the afterword and saw the pictures at the end of the book!!
I hope that a lot of people read this book and realize that discrimination is never justified. I hope that people take that message to heart.