Review of Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
by Mara Rockliff; illus. by R. Gregory Christie
Primary, Intermediate    Random House Studio    40 pp.    g
1/22    978-1-5247-2064-3    $18.99
Library ed.  978-1-5247-2065-0    $21.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5247-2066-7    $11.99

Rockliff and Christie focus their story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott on a little-heralded — yet integral — member of the movement, culinary whiz Georgia Gilmore (1920–1990). Once the boycott began, Gilmore and her “Club from Nowhere” (so dubbed to help members avoid retaliatory action) sold baked goods and donated their earnings to the cause. Although Gilmore did, in fact, lose her job after testifying at Dr. King’s trial following his arrest for organizing the boycott, she was able to succeed when he encouraged her to start her own catering business. Gilmore’s home became a place for members of the movement to gather not just to eat good food but to hash out matters relevant to the boycott. Rockliff repeats certain phrases to great effect (“Summer heated up…The boycotters trudged on. Fall passed…The boycotters plodded on”) and nods to Gilmore’s mouthwatering menu offerings (“The empty buses made city officials hotter than Georgia’s collard greens with pepper sauce”). Christie’s vivid, painterly illustrations bring the 1950s setting to life and show Gilmore’s importance to the cause; she is pictured in nearly every spread, cooking, baking, bringing money to a boycott strategy meeting, and more. Appended with an “After the Boycott” page, which focuses on Gilmore’s later life; an author’s note on sources; and a source list. Pair with Romito and Freeman’s Pies from Nowhere (rev. 11/18).

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sam Bloom

Sam Bloom is a programming librarian at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Public Library in northern Kentucky.

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