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"Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues" by Harriette Gillem Robinet; Atheneum, $16
The bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., in 1956 is big trouble for 12-year-old Alfa Merryfield. When he walks, he can't avoid the white boys who steal the money he makes working in a grocery store. And he needs the money to help pay the rent for the shack he lives in with his older sister and great-grandmother.

Alfa and his sister have a hiding place for the rent money (since the door doesn't lock), but when the money starts disappearing, Alfa uses the scientific method to catch the thief.

Robinet presents a little-explored side of the bus boycott -- its impact on poor working folk of Montgomery -- in this interesting and suspenseful novel.

-- Jean Westmoore


Match the person with his or her accomplishment:
1. This "conductor" led at least 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad:

(a) Harriet Tubman

(b) Sojourner Truth

(c) Harriet Beecher Stowe
2. This agricultural chemist revived the southern economy by encouraging farmers to grow peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, instead of relying on cotton.

(a) James Weldon Johnson

(b) George Washington Carver

(c) Booker Washington

3. The first African-American Supreme Court justice:

(a) Frederick Douglass

(b) Thurgood Marshall

(c) Clarence Thomas

Answers: 1. (a); 2. (b); 3. (b)


1919 to 1940 -- Outpouring of art and literature by black Americans, known as Harlem Renaissance.

1925 -- Philip Randolph starts Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, first successful black trade union.

1936 -- Jesse Owens wins four gold medals, embarrassing Adolf Hitler at what came to be known as "Nazi Olympics" in Berlin.

1937 -- Joe Louis becomes world boxing heavyweight champion.

1947 -- Jackie Robinson joins Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming first black ballplayer in modern major leagues.

1954 -- In Brown vs. Board of Education, Supreme Court says segregated schools are unconstitutional.

1955 -- Rosa Parks arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat on bus to a white man, setting off bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr.

1960 -- Sit-in movement launched in Greensboro, N.C., when college students insist on service at segregated lunch counter.

1963 -- King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

1964 -- Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1965 -- "Autobiography of Malcolm X" published

1968 -- Rev. King assassinated.

1971 -- Supreme Court approves school busing as method of desegregation.

1975 -- Arthur Ashe, at Wimbledon, becomes first black man to win major men's singles tennis championship.

1977 -- Alex Haley's book "Roots," tracing his family back to Africa, is TV mini-series.

1984 -- Rev. Jesse Jackson is first serious black contender for U.S. presidency.

1992 -- Riots in L.A. when four white cops who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King are found not guilty of assault charges . . . Carol Mosley-Braun becomes first African-American woman elected to U.S. Senate.

-- Washington Post

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