The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
This is the book I'm reading right now---
Title: 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Book Beginning, from first contribution in the form of a prose poem by Elizabeth Partridge---
Friday 56, from the essay "The Wrong Side of History" by Laban Carrick Hill
Review: I was a kid in 1968, just eleven years old. And my family didn't live in the States at the time. We lived in Africa where my dad was a missionary for three years, 1966-69. I, like Laban Hill, hadn't heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. but I remember the day he died very clearly because my parents were so distraught. In fact, it was his death that made me start paying attention, at least a little bit, to the politics at home in the USA. By 1969 when we were slated to come home, I was terrified. What would I be going home to? Fights in the streets? Assassinations here and there? Demonstrations and anger over Vietnam everywhere? I decided as a twelve-year-old kid that I'd rather stay in Africa and deal with the bugs than go home to the political mess that awaited us. But I was overruled and we returned home during the summer of 1969. We were in Norway, on our return trip, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. My, my the world HAD changed a lot while we were "gone".
Now, with the perspective of age, I can really see what a pivotal year 1968 was.
[The year] grew more intense with each day. As thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, students across four continents took over colleges and city streets. Assassins murdered Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrators turned out in Prague and Chicago, and in Mexico City, young people and Olympic athletes protested. In those intense months, generations battled and the world wobbled on the edge of some vast change that was exhilarating one day and terrifying the next. (Book blurb)The book is comprised of fourteen essays and a long prose poem interspersed throughout the book by authors who usually write for young adults. Each essay is personal in nature in that the author remembers living through some event in 1968 and so was able to personalize on some level that which they researched and wrote about. All of the essays were not about what was happening in the USA in 1968 because it wasn't just a year of turmoil in one country but in many places around the globe. France, Czechoslovakia, China, and Mexico also experienced tumult in 1968. In fact the essays about these events were some of my favorites because I learned something as I read them. And because the essays were at least a bit personal in nature, one received information from a unique point of view, as the Friday 56 quote shows. Laban Carrick Hill talks about what it like living in a family of racists who were glad when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. Now that is not a point of view one often reads about in the history books. His immediate family, however, did come around to see the error of their views, so we was able to talk about that evolution, too.
A few of my favorite essays weren't even about the Vietnam war or the Civil Rights movement, but about life in the late 1960s. Paul Fleischman remembers 1968 in his essay "Biker's Ed" as the year he took his first long bicycle trek with a friend leaving Santa Monica heading north to San Francisco or Vancouver, BC, points north. The trip ended when his friend's sleeping bag was stolen in Santa Barbara. He saw that event, not the stabbing of a concert-goer at a Rolling Stone concert by a Hell's Angel, as the beginning of the end of the 1960s culture. David Lubar's essay "Running with Sharp Schticks", about the comedy of the 1960s, is must reading if anyone wants to understand how much the world has changed since that time. And "Running Into History" by Jim Murphy reminded me about the 1968 Summer Olympics and how three brave men, two Americans and one Australian, attempted to make a statement about the unfair treatment of blacks in the world. All three were punished or ostracized for their efforts. Remind you of something today with the NFL?
In fact, this book is a nice reminder for us today. When one is embroiled in a world on the precipice of big change, one where everything is very unsettled, it is good to look back on another year where everything seemed to hang in the balance. We lived through 1968, we shall survive 2018, too.
The book is not only expertly written, it is also nicely sourced. It has notes about each of the authors who contributed to the project, source notes, and a limited bibliography for further research. Do I think that teenagers of today will flock to this book? Unlikely. But I hope that every library, both public and school, will make sure to have it available for those readers and researchers who are curious about what it was like in 1968, a truly pivotal year in world history.