Bayard Rustin: Invisible Activist
"We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers" —Bayard Rustin
To many, the civil rights movement brings to mind protests, marches, boycotts, and freedom rides. They often think of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. They seldom think of Bayard Rustin.
Raised by his Quaker grandmother to believe in the value of every human being, Bayard made trouble wherever he saw injustice. As a teenager, he was arrested for sitting in the whites only section of a theater. More arrests followed, for protesting against segregation, discrimination, and war. His belief in nonviolent action as a means for social change gave him a guiding vision for the civil rights movement, which he used to mentor the young Martin Luther King, Jr. When A. Philip Randolph needed the best organizer on the planet, he turned to Bayard Rustin to bring 250,000 people to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Illustrated with over sixty photos, this book is the product of a unique collaboration between three authors: Bayard’s partner of ten years, a professor of religious studies, and a children’s book author. Though he is largely ignored in history books, Bayard’s ideas and actions will inspire today’s young (and not-so-young) readers to be angelic troublemakers.
Authors: Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, Michael Long. Walter Naegle is Bayard’s former partner and Jacqueline Houtman is a children’s author. In 2013, on Bayard Rustin’s behalf, Walter Naegle received the posthumous Medal of Freedom Award from Barack Obama.
Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist is one of the seven finalists in Cybils’ Young Adult nonfiction category for 2015! We are very happy that Invisible Activist is getting the visibility it deserves! The book was also recognized by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center in their Choices for 2015.
Invisible Activist is a perfect book for the classrooms. Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project as selected it as suggested reading for Grades 6-8 in their Appendix D list of texts that meet Appendix B’s Common Core requirements and provide diversity in classroom reading. A rigorous review of the use of the book in-classroom and with consideration of Common Core can be read here.
Publisher: QuakerPress of FGC