This biography of Bayard Rustin for young readers depicts his life of nonviolent activism and resistance.
"Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and, most importantly, a faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in our way."—President Barack Obama
"Bayard Rustin was one of the great organizers and activists of the Civil Rights Movement. Without his skill and vision, the historic impact of the March on Washington might not have been possible. I am glad this biography will make young people aware of his life and his incredible contribution to American history."—Congressman John Lewis
"Bayard Rustin did not spend his life trying to fit in. Instead, Bayard's fascinating life story is the saga of one man's struggle to make the world fit his vision of justice."—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Bayard Rustin was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He was arrested on a bus thirteen years before Rosa Parks and he participated in integrated bus rides throughout the South fourteen years before the Freedom Riders. He was a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teaching him the techniques and philosophy of Gandhian nonviolent direct action. He organized the March on Washington in 1963, one of the most impactful mobilizations in American history. Despite these contributions, few Americans recognize his name, and he is absent from most history books, in large part because he was gay. This biography traces Rustin's life, from his childhood and his first arrest in high school for sitting in the "whites only" section of a theater, through a lifetime of nonviolent activism.
Intended for young audiences, with numerous photographs and sidebars, this book will also appeal to older readers who want to learn more about this fascinating man who sang on Broadway with Paul Robeson, was imprisoned for his activism and worked on a chain gang, advised Martin Luther King, and more. Bayard Rustin was a lifelong activist for peace and justice, a fearless nonviolent resistor whose story is inspiring, educational, and very relevant today.
Praise for Troublemaker for Justice:
"InTroublemaker for Justice children and teens can finally discover the story of the man who possibly was the most influential person in the struggle for Civil Rights—Bayard Rustin. They'll discover a man who was behind many, if not most, Civil Rights and human rights efforts in the United States and around the world in the 1940s-1980s. They'll discover a man who was willing to work behind the scenes, who was willing to be in the background in photos, and who was willing to work for a purpose not for praise or notoriety. They'll discover an African American gay man who never forgot his Quaker roots and who sought to peacefully create social justice so that equality became more than a word, it became a reality. This carefully researched book is one that children, teenagers, and adults should read and discuss, and the life of Bayard Rustin is one we should all emulate."—Rob Sanders, author of Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
"Written with verve and an unerring eye for the important details, as well as the larger picture, Troublemaker for Justice is a nuanced, vital, and compelling portrait of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. It is beautifully imagined and positioned perfectly in a thrilling sweep of U.S. history. Rustin's life was a series of breakneck collisions with history and Troublemaker for Justice captures the energy and importance of his personal and political life. Perfect for any reader young adult or older, who wants to know more about Rustin, social justice movements, and how brave, visionary people have changed American history and made all of our lives better."—Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States
"Troublemaker for Justice is an incredible book! It is hard to believe that so much tumultuous history is contained in 154 pages.What emerges is the intense importance of seeing Bayard and other Civil Rights Leaders not just as historical figures, but as the brave people they were who made sacrifices for the betterment of society. Their stories vehemently ask us to not let their work towards creating a less violent world be in vain."—Connie Griffin, Children's Book Specialist, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
"Troublemaker for Justice will thrill and inspire young readers—and their parents. Bayard Rustin was a crucial figure in the Civil Rights movement, and everyone should know his story, but even more importantly, we need his principles and his tactics now more than ever. This is one history book that could help you change the future." —Charlie Jane Anders, author of The City in the Middle of the Night
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