Round and Round Together

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Anatomy of a Protest Movement Sparks New Book by Award-Winning Author Amy Nathan

A new book by award-winning author Amy Nathan, Round and Round Together: Taking a Merry-Go-Round Ride into the Civil Rights Movement , provides an anatomy of a protest movement as it tells of the ten-year struggle to integrate an amusement park in Baltimore.

Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring are in the news, and questions about protest movements and civil rights are dominating the national conversation. A new book by award-winning author Amy Nathan, Round and Round Together: Taking a Merry-Go-Round Ride into the Civil Rights Movement , provides an anatomy of a protest movement as it tells of the ten-year struggle to integrate an amusement park in Baltimore. By placing the story in the context of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, the book gives readers a deeper understanding of how individual and group action can bring about profound change.

Jim Crow laws and institutionalized racism once barred African-Americans from schools, stores, restaurants, hotels, theaters, parks, public housing, recreation, transportation, hospitals, and hotels. Round and Round Together provides a detailed map of the long journey from inequality to integration as it played out in one particular venue, and a guide that is very relevant to today’s new protest movements.

The African-American community in Baltimore began to challenge Jim Crow laws as early as the 1930s. As the civil rights movement grew over the following decades, Baltimoreans bolstered their efforts with tactics and strategies learned from protestors’ experiences nationwide. With the support of churches, newspapers, and civil rights organizations, activists exerted economic and moral pressure by practicing nonviolent resistance and staging demonstrations that were carefully timed to garner maximum publicity. By the mid-1950’s the whites-only Gwynn Oak Amusement Park had become a focus of civil rights protests.

Young people often took the lead. Realizing it could take years for court cases to wend their way through the justice system, black college and high school students rallied. By the early 1960’s, students demonstrated nearly every weekend and were joined by protestors both black and white from other cities and states. Round and Round Together shows how a carefully-orchestrated combination of picket lines, sit-ins, and mass arrests eventually achieved the goal of integration. On August 28, 1963, the same day that Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., a little girl in a frilly pink dress became the first African-American to ride the Gwynn Oak carousel, forty miles away. Fittingly, after Gwynn Oak closed, the carousel was moved to the National Mall, where visitors of all races can now enjoy the ride.

This meticulously-researched book features scores of anecdotal sidebars and nearly 100 black and white archival photographs – including stories, quotes, and images of Civil Rights heroes, from well-known national figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and Medgar Evers, to local people whose actions made a difference. A book trailer can be seen here.

Amy Nathan, www.amynathanbooks.com, is the author of nonfiction books for young readers, including Take a Seat—Make a Stand (for which she was interviewed on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show), Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II, Count on Us: American Women in the Military, Meet the Musicians, Young Musician’s Survival Guide, Meet the Dancers, Surviving Homework, and The Kids’ Allowance Book. A ten-time winner of the EdPress Award for Excellence in Educational Journalism, she had also received a Parents’ Choice Award and a Clarion Award for Best Nonfiction. She grew up in Baltimore during the Civil Rights era and lives in New York.

Round and Round Together
Written by Amy Nathan
Published by Paul Dry Books
December 2011
Ages: 12-up
250 pages
$12.95 paperback
ISBN: 978-1-58988-071-9

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