eSource: Small Shoes, Great Strides

Cover: Small Shoes, Great Strides: How Three Brave Girls Opened Doors to School Equality
  • Interest Level: Grade 2 - Grade 5

On November 14, 1960, first graders Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, and Gail Etienne stepped into history by going to school.

Escorted by U.S. Marshals and facing swarms of shouting protestors, they became the first children in New Orleans to integrate a previously all-white school, just ten minutes before Ruby Bridges. Like Ruby, the trio faced crowds of protestors fighting against public school desegregation efforts and relied on US Marshals to keep them safe. That day was just the beginning of their journey.

Despite hate mail, death threats, and ongoing protests, Leona, Tessie, and Gail continued attending McDonogh No. 19 Public School. To ensure their safety, classroom windows were covered with paper, and they weren’t allowed outside for recess. With the love and protection of their parents, the Marshals, and their kindly teacher, the girls carried on and formed a close bond, becoming friends for life.

Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson conducted extensive interviews to bring this little-known story from the Civil Rights Movement to young readers. With vivid illustrations by fine artist Alex Bostic that highlight courage and determination, this book celebrates how three little girls made great strides to ensure all children could receive the education they deserve.

Name Size Format
Small Shoes, Great Strides: Teaching Guide 3.82 MB PDF

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