Because They Marched:

The People's Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America

  • Runtime: 1.8 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 1.17.2017
  • Publisher: Dreamscape
  • Genre: Nonfiction/History
  • 1.77 hrs1/17/2017Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9781520046907

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014

For the fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 march for voting right from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Newbery Medalist Russell Freedman has written a riveting account of this pivotal event in the history of civil rights, an essential chronicle of events every American should know.

In the early 1960s, tired of reprisals for attempting to register to vote, Selma’s black community began to protest. The struggle received nationwide attention when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a voting rights march in January, 1965, and was attacked by a segregationist.

In February, the shooting of an unarmed demonstrator by an Alabama state trooper inspired a march from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. The march got off to a horrific start on March 7 as law officers attacked peaceful demonstrators. Broadcast throughout the world, the violence attracted widespread outrage and spurred demonstrators to complete the march at any cost.

On March 25, after several setbacks, protesters completed the fifty-four-mile march to a cheering crowd of 25,000 supporters.

Editorial Reviews

“Pull[s] readers into the decades-long struggle via clear, concise storytelling, and myriad quotes from participants, many of them young at the time.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One of the most decorated nonfiction writers in the field brings his style to a well-told story of the struggle for voting rights..Freedman’s meticulous research and elegant prose brings freshness to [the] story.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The major role played by Selma’s courageous teenagers and children makes this a particularly sympathetic and significant story for young Americans. Freedman writes with great immediacy, weaving pertinent first-person accounts into a beautifully written narrative.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Through short chapters, skilled, fluid writing…and firsthand accounts of the clash between black and white Americans, Freedman has crafted an account of a crucial time in history; readers will easily be able to imagine that a grandfather or great-grandfather is telling this story.”

School Library Journal

“Narrator Rodney Gardiner recounts the story of the protest marches…Gardiner’s resonant voice captures the mood as they faced intimidation and beatings…Gardiner’s even tone and compassionate style add to the story of those who marched.”


Author Biography

Russell Freedman is the distinguished recipient of the Newbery Medal, several Newbery Honors, the Sibert Medal, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award for his body of work. His many nonfiction titles include The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights and Children of the Great Depression. He travels widely to research his books but he makes his home in New York City.

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Reader Biography

Rodney Gardiner is an audiobook narrator and an accomplished actor with over six seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in such roles as Tinman in The Wiz and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.

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