Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington

City Lights. Aug. 2019. 168p. bibliog. chron. notes. photos. pap. $13.95. ISBN 9780872867659.
Gr 7 Up–While still in high school, Bayard Rustin began his nonviolence campaign toward equal treatment for all. Rustin was raised by his grandparents in West Chester, PA. His grandmother instilled in Rustin her Quaker roots and beliefs of pacifism. Rustin always supported nonviolence in his quest for civil rights, even while he was being beaten and arrested. He was the man behind the scenes of the March on Washington. Posthumously, Rustin was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. The award was significant because for the first time in history, the medal was presented to a same-sex partner of a deceased recipient. His story needs to be told, and the authors have done an excellent job writing it. Each of the 22 chapters is short and focuses on an important event in Rustin’s life. The authors do not assume readers have a strong background in the history of the civil rights movement. Within the chapters, additional background information explains terms or events that may not be universally well known. The selected photographs chronicle Rustin at different points of his life. An extensive endnote and bibliography section can be found at the back of the book. A list of discussion questions will inspire deeper thinking about Rustin’s life. In addition to civil rights, Rustin stood for gay and human rights.
VERDICT An excellent biography that belongs in every young adult library. Readers will find Rustin’s story captivating; his story could encourage young people to fight for change

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