Monday, December 14, 2020

Mighty Justice: The Untold Story of Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

McCabe, Katie. Mighty Justice (Young Readers' Edition): The Untold Story of Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree
December 15th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Born in 1914, Roundtree had a varied and important career made all the more impressive by the difficulties she faced at every turn. Thanks to her grandmother, who had suffered greatly from racism and believed that education was the key to success, she managed to not only go to college at Spelman, but also law school at Howard University, and even studied theology while she was practicing law! Because she had to work to pay her way through most of her schooling, it is amazing that she was able to keep up with the demands of her classes while also being actively involved with the Civil Rights movement. She was handpicked to serve as a reruiter for the WAAC by Mary McLeod Bethune She was very fortunate to have some amazing mentors, from Bethune, to a college professor who supported her and made sure she had funds for school, to several helpful people in the legal profession. During the 1950s and 60s, she was involved in a number of legal battles, many of them concerning transportation. I had no idea that there were so many fights about this, many of them well before Rosa Parks. During the 1970s and 80s, she shifted her focus to the rights of children. She practiced law into her 80s, and passed away in 2018 at the age of 104. 
Strengths: Wow. I've been waiting a long time to see more biographies of women and Black Americans that aren't new editions of people about whom there are already books. (How many George Washington Carver and Harriet Tubman books does one library need?) Roundtree is hugely impressive, yet I had never heard of her. Biographies set in the 1900s often amaze my readers, who find it difficult to comprehend how widespread strictures for Black Americans were not that many years ago. There are a decent number of photographs spread throughout the book. 
Weaknesses: This was a bit of the dry side. This could be because it is a Young Readers Edition, or it could have been that a lot of the book covered legal cases. I was hoping it would be a bit more like Katharine Johnson's Reaching for the Moon and provide more details about every day life.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, since this has just the right amount of information for research projects and is not only a great biography, but can also be used for finding out more about important Civil Rights cases. 

My school is back in person after a remote day on Friday because there weren't enough buses. It was done wisely, if a bit last minute. The elementary students still had school, but middle and high were remote. My district has been about ninth in the state for COVID cases recently (we are a large district) but I know that not having school is very difficult for families. We haven't seen this cohort of students since before Thanksgiving, so I hope that we can make it through the whole week. 

I normally do NOT look forward to breaks, but I think I am ready for this one. Between losing my mother in April and my dog Sylvie in September, both of my daughters being two hours away from home, and my father not allowed to leave his senior facility, this year has been... a lot. I do fully realize that I have been very fortunate compared to many people, but somehow it all hit home this weekend. 

On the upside, I have knocked my reading goal out of the park with 842 books this year!


  1. I'm sorry it's been such a tough year, Karen, and that it's hitting you so hard now. I think the holidays can accentuate things. Glad you're getting a break from school soon. I hope you find in all your reading books that help distract and heal.

  2. I'm sorry for your losses this year, Karen. What a terrible time for so many! Thanks for sharing this book, another new one to me, and congratulations for achieving that huge reading goal!

  3. Thanks for the information about Mighty Justice Karen. I'm sorry you have had a hell of a year even without having to deal with the pandemic. Many of my teacher friends tell me it's been their hardest year ever without all the extra stress.

  4. I'm so sorry you've been dealing with so much this year! I hope that having a break serves as a respite from all of the stress, and I'm glad you've been able to escape into 842 books! Mighty Justice sounds excellent—I have unfortunately never heard of Dovey Johnson Roundtree, but she clearly sounds like an important figure who I should learn about! Thanks for the great review!

  5. Thanks for introducing this book to me. It's one I will recommend my school librarian to purchase. Very much needed!
    I too lost a parent last March and it added to the woes of the year. I'm ready to take deep breath and start fresh in 2021.

  6. I'm sorry your year has been so difficult. 2020 can't be gone soon enough to suit me. So many books! That is impressive. I don't know how you do it. This book sounds like one I need to check out. Thanks for the heads up. Enjoy your break.

  7. Yes, let me echo all the expressions of sympathy. What a terrible year it's been for you! Here's hoping the holidays can be a respite for you and that 2021 will be a happier new year.