“Practicing peace while others showed hatred was tougher than any school test.” Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

These words are from Andrea Davis Pinkney’s award-winning book, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, based on the 1960 peaceful protest led by four students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, NC. City Academy students had the privilege of hearing Ms. Pinkney read selections from this book and other works while visiting the school for Black History Month. Ms. Pinkney was in town for St. Louis Public Library’s Black History Month Guest Speakers Series. The library was very generous and invited Ms. Pinkney to speak with City Academy scholars during her short stay in St. Louis!

City Academy scholars were thrilled to have the chance to meet the author because many of our students have read her stories. When you walk into the school’s library, books about African-Americans are on display for all students to discover and explore. Many of these books include books by Andrea Davis Pinkney about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duke Ellington, Sojourner Truth, and the Woolworth sit-in. Our students read these stories not only during Black History Month, but throughout the entire school year.

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Ms. Pinkey speaking with students at City Academy

For many scholars, this was the first time they experienced meeting a published author. Our students greatly appreciated having the chance to ask Ms. Pinkney about being an author, when she was inspired to become an author, and why she writes nonfiction books about African-Americans. They discovered that Ms. Pinkney has been writing since a child and enjoys sharing the history of African-American leaders because their stories need to be told.

But Ms. Pinkney was not the only one who was asked questions during her visit. She also asked our students what they would have done had they been part of the Civil Rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s. When a fifth grader was asked what he would do if he saw a waiter refusing to serve someone, the fifth grader replied, “I would make sure that the waiter goes over to them and point the way over to them.” And then asked what he would do if his friends made a big deal about it, the fifth grader responded, “I wouldn’t care. I would make new friends.”

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Third graders reading Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Our students are so grateful for the opportunity to meet award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney and have the chance to interact with her, and her stories. The visit also meant a lot to our librarian, Marybeth Huff, because of the students’ interest in reading the great books by Ms. Pinkney. “Because the St. Louis Public Library was so generous and afforded our students the opportunity to meet author Andrea Davis Pinkney, our students are more invested in her works and have been better able to connect with the subjects of the stories,” says Ms. Huff. “Even though her stories are about historical African-American leaders, her visit helped bring these figures to life. Thanks to her visit, students are interested in learning more about their history.”

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