Down on James Street
Down on James Street

The moon lit the riverbank as George and Dorothy each made their way to the teen dance hall. It’s 1935, and sons and daughters of black and white workers in Pittsburgh look forward to having some fun dancing the Lindy Hop, until the police come in and break up the dance…with their bully clubs.

The teens all scatter, but Dorothy has a plan to save the dance. Is George ready to join the fight? Or will he play it safe and just go home to his family?

Down on James Street is based on a real historical incident in 1930’s Pittsburgh. Today, young and old can take inspiration from this wonderful story of courage and solidarity, with gorgeous illustrations by Byron Gramby that summon up the style and the cool of that long-gone era.

Book Details


  • Picture book

Age Level: 

  • 8 - 12
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Down On James Street follows the events of a young man at a dance hosted by the Young Worker’s League in Pittsburgh 1935. On his way there, George meets a delightful young woman named Dorothy who is also on her way to the dance. Once they arrive at the dance, they become dance partners and dance the night away. However, society at the time did not approve of Dorothy and George dancing together because of the differences in their skin color. Later, at the dance, police show up and mayhem ensues over the dancing kids due to the integrated dance.

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