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In 1847, 4-year-old Sarah Roberts began to attend Otis School in Boston. One day, a policeman entered the school and told Sarah to leave and never return. The African American girl wasn’t welcome in the whites-only school even though it was the closest school to her home. Sarah was expected to walk many miles past several other schools to a school—inferior in educational quality and resources—exclusively for African American children.

With passion and integrity, Sarah’s parents, as well as other African Americans and white people, fought for her rights and the rights of all children. Sarah’s court case was unique: it was the first to demand that the United States government outlaw desegregation of schools; the first time that an African American lawyer presented a case before a Supreme Court; and the first time that an African American lawyer and a white lawyer worked together to pursue justice.

Though Sarah’s case was defeated, it began a movement which eventually led to an historic decision—in 1855, Boston was the first large American city to officially end segregation in its schools.

E. B. White’s powerful illustrations for this moving children's picture book capture the dignity, pain, and passion of people longing for justice. (Bloomsbury)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.