Every January governments, workplaces, and people around the U.S. pause to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy. But the national holiday that falls on or near his birthday each year didn’t simply arise on its own in the years after King’s death. Instead it took dedicated work by a legion of people who were determined that this man would be honored and remembered for his accomplishments.
One of those people, Kathlyn J. Kirkwood, has written a memoir in verse about her own experience with activism starting in childhood and how she came to fight for a holiday in King’s name. Called Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round, the book is punctuated with illustrations, photos, and historic documents.
Kathlyn’s story starts in 1968 in Memphis, Tennesse, when she was a senior in high school. She tells about the events leading to King’s assassination and her participation in the Freedom Train, which was part of the Poor People’s Campaign. In words simple and profound, she captures the feeling of the times and how people can come together to change hearts and minds around an important issue.
The back of the book contains a glossary and also a brief civics lesson, with a graphic depiction of how a bill becomes law. I recommend Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round for readers aged 10 to 13.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.