Troublemaker for Justice:
The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington
by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long (City Lights 2019)
We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers. – Bayard Rustin
"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 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.
Walter Naegle was Bayard Rustin's partner for a decade. When Rustin died in 1987, Walter was instrumental in establishing The Bayard Rustin Fund, a private foundation that promotes Rustin's values and works to heighten awareness of his accomplishments.
Michael G. Long is an associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College. He is the author or editor of several books on civil rights, religion and politics, and peacemaking in mid-century America.