Friday, February 26, 2021

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott - Dee Romito (Illus. Laura Freeman)

Summary:  This stunning picture book looks into the life of Georgia Gilmore, a hidden figure of history who played a critical role in the civil rights movement and used her passion for baking to help the Montgomery Bus Boycott achieve it's goal.  (Summary from book - Image from )

My Review:   I found this book while browsing in my local library's children's section.  This book caught my eye and I decided to take it home for closer examination.  I am so glad I did, because if I hadn't I wouldn't have known about Georgia.  Here's a slightly more in-depth summary than the one above...

Pies from Nowhere tells the true story of Georgia Gilmore, an African American woman who founded a secret organization that fed and funded the resistance movement during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56.  In late 1955, Georgia was employed as a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama when she heard about an African-American woman named Rosa Parks who was arrested for refusing to relinquish her bus seat to a white man.  The next day, people were encouraged to boycott the city's public transportation in protest. Georgia had been mistreated by transit employees in the past, and had already stopped riding the bus altogether, but she still wanted to be part of the fight for freedom, justice, and equality.  

Together with a group of women, Georgia began to cook food for resistance meetings and sell pies, cakes, sandwiches, and dinners to anyone willing to pay cash.  The group needed to remain a secret so that the women would not get fired from their jobs and they soon became known as the Club from Nowhere.  The profit from their sales helped fund the boycott movement, buying gas and even vehicles to help provide alternative transportation.  When Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested for his role in the boycott, Georgia testified about her experiences on his behalf and was fired from her job.  Later, Dr. King helped her set up her own business, cooking from her home.  Her efforts were incredibly successful and many civil rights leaders came to appreciate her cooking, even holding secret meetings in her home.  Georgia was in her kitchen cooking and listening to the radio when she heard the Supreme Court had ruled segregation on public transportation illegal.  She was excited, but she knew there was still work to do, so she kept doing it (and became a stanch public advocate for justice and racial-equality).

I had never heard of Georgia Gilmore before I read this book -- a thoroughly depressing statement -- but I loved reading about her life and was inspired by her perseverance, bravery, and determination.  Dee Romito's words wove a tale of heroism that was compelling, factual, and age-appropriate, while Laura Freeman, the illustrator, did a fabulous job of capturing Georgia's likeness as well as those of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King.  Her illustrations were vibrant, emotive, and enhanced the story for young readers.  The overall message about striving for equality, the importance of standing up against injustice, and contributing to the cause was incredibly relevant and beneficial for today's political climate.  I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn a little more about Georgia Gilmore, or anyone who wants to teach their children about one of the lesser known heroes in U.S. History.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Obviously, there is discussion of racism and inequality. But that's our sad history.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails