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UNSTOPPABLE by Michael G. Long Kirkus Star


How Bayard Rustin Organized the 1963 March on Washington

by Michael G. Long ; illustrated by Bea Jackson

Pub Date: May 2nd, 2023
ISBN: 9781499812060
Publisher: Little Bee Books

A civil rights luminary finally gets his due.

The March on Washington is most widely remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, but the event and its impact were a dream built by many whose names are criminally undercelebrated. This vital book broadens the narrative by introducing readers to Bayard Rustin, whose contributions to its success are sometimes downplayed or obscured. From the opening line of the book, Long’s narrative lovingly presents Rustin’s history of good troublemaking, starting with his first arrest for sitting in the White section of a movie theater in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania, to the influence of his mentor, A. Philip Randolph, who, with Rustin, came up with the idea for the 1963 March on Washington. The prose works in perfect harmony with Jackson’s warmly colored, stunning illustrations, which present Rustin as a gifted, passionate visionary whose talents helped turn the march from a dream into an unprecedented success. This work’s greatest contribution is its unflinching honesty in demonstrating the backlash Rustin faced for being gay, both from White America and his own Black colleagues within the movement, who felt that his sexuality would detract from its success. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A joyful tribute to the work of an important American hero.

(author’s note, information on Long’s research) (Picture-book biography. 6-9)