"The Watsons Go to Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis, Chapters 12-Epilogue

When the Watson family pays Grandma a visit in Alabama, they find themselves caught up in the battle for civil rights.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4-7, Chapters 8-11, Chapters 12-Epilogue

Here are links to our lists for other books by Christopher Paul Curtis: Bud,
Not Buddy
, Elijah of Buxton

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. desire
    an inclination to want things
    He’s just like me, lost the desire.
  2. cooperate
    work together on a common enterprise of project
    Remember how Joe’d just walk around the ring waving that left fist like a threat, he just couldn’t throw it, he just couldn’t pull the trigger no more, his mind told him to do it but his body wouldn’t cooperate.
  3. wily
    marked by skill in deception
    “Well, there ain’t too many animals wilier or tougher than a old coon."
  4. wonder
    have a wish or desire to know something
    I always wondered what she’s doing.
  5. rude
    lacking civility or good manners
    Momma was being kind of rude, she interrupted and said, “Awww, Momma, good friends?"
  6. scold
    censure severely or angrily
    Even though she only told Momma that Mr. Robert was her friend it seemed like I heard her also give my mother a real good scolding.
  7. entree
    the right to be admitted
  8. wade
    walk through relatively shallow water
    The second warning came when I decided to wade in the water and the knots wouldn’t come out of my tennis shoe laces and I had to pull and tug the shoes off with the laces still tied.
  9. poke
    thrust abruptly
    Byron poked his head out of the door, still in his underpants and still doing his morning scratches.
  10. attention
    a motionless erect stance with arms at the sides
    All the hair on my head jumped up to attention.
  11. imitate
    reproduce someone's behavior or looks
    Joey was imitating Momma so much that she didn’t say “Bernard,” she said “Buh-Nod.”
  12. mature
    having reached full natural growth or development
    I was getting too mature to play with toys anymore.
  13. linoleum
    a floor covering
    Byron let me sniff and wipe my hand across my eyes before he slid my head back onto the linoleum and stood up.
  14. civil
    of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals
    South was caught up in a struggle for basic human rights that became known as the civil rights movement.
  15. amend
    make revisions to
    Although the Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and the Constitution had been amended after the Civil War to extend the rights and protections of citizenship to African Americans, changing the law of the land did not always change the way people behaved.
  16. pervasive
    spreading or spread throughout
    In the Northern, Eastern and Western states, African Americans often faced discrimination, but it was not as extreme and pervasive as in the South.
  17. segregation
    a social system with separate facilities for minority groups
    There communities and states passed laws that allowed discrimination in schooling, housing and job opportunities; prohibited interracial marriages; and enforced segregation by creating separate facilities for African Americans and whites.
  18. prevent
    stop from doing something or being in a certain state
    Rigged laws and “tests” prevented African Americans from voting.
  19. adopt
    take up and practice as one's own
    They adopted many of the techniques that Mohandas Gandhi had used to liberate India from British rule.
  20. boycott
    refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization
    Sit-ins and boycotts of stores and public transportation applied economic pressure.
  21. provoke
    provide the needed stimulus for
    The goal was to create tension and provoke confrontations that would force the federal government to step in and enforce the laws.
  22. remove
    take something away as by lifting, pushing, or taking off
    Addie Mae Collins’s sister, Sarah, had to have an eye removed, and another girl was blinded.
  23. unforgettable
    impossible to dismiss from the mind
    On August 28, 1963, two hundred thousand people marched on Washington, D.C., to pressure Congress to pass the Civil Rights Bill, and heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his unforgettable “I have a dream” speech.
  24. inspire
    serve as the inciting cause of
    It was a people's movement, inspired by the courageous acts of ordinary citizens like Rosa Parks, the seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama, who began the first great effort of the movement—the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56—when she refused to give up her seat to a white man.
  25. quest
    the act of searching for something
    They did it in the name of the movement, in the quest for freedom.

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