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 Publishers, 2019. 172 pages. $13.95/paperback or eBook. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

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Friends may be interested in learning that the book Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist, published by QuakerPress of Friends General Conference in 2014, has been reissued this year. The title is now Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington, and it is published by City Lights Publishers in San Francisco, Calif. The earlier version was reviewed in the March 2015 issue of Friends Journal by David Etheridge, who wrote, “The goal of this book is not simply to inform young people about Rustin’s life, but to inspire them to become social activists.” This new version is the first-ever young adult publication from City Lights, which previously published I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters, a compilation of Rustin’s letters edited by Michael G. Long, in 2012 (reviewed in FJ Nov. 2012). Publisher Elaine Katzenberger explained to Publishers Weekly that the differences between the two editions primarily involve production tweaks, including a new cover to make it more appealing to teen readers. Additionally a teacher’s discussion guide for high schoolers is available on City Lights’s website (

Furthermore Rustin is included in a list of Quaker social changemakers for Friends Journal’s seventh annual Student Voices Project, which invites middle and high school students to write about creating change in their local communities.

In high school, Bayard Rustin (1912–1987) was arrested for sitting in the “whites only” section of his hometown movie theater. He continued to peacefully resist racial discrimination wherever he encountered it and grew up to become one of the key figures of the American Civil Rights Movement, teaching Martin Luther King Jr. the philosophy and techniques of nonviolent direct action. In 1963, he organized the March on Washington, one of America’s most historic protest marches, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

A selection of the Student Voices submissions will be featured in the May 2020 issue. See for eligibility, guidelines, queries, and more inspiring examples of Quaker changemakers in history and today. The deadline to submit is February 10, 2020.

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