I admire the gumption of Morgan Reynolds Publishing. Each year, as other publishers gin out yet another book about some popular hero, Morgan Reynolds tackles the unsung heroes with grace and clarity. This new book about Bayard Rustin is a perfect example.
"Bayard who?" you're probably asking. Ah...my point exactly. Rustin - grandson of a former slave - was a talented musician, writer, and committed activist, organizer and advisor who worked closely with such luminaries as Martin Luther King Jr. and A. Philip Randolph. He is responsible for introducing Gandhi's principles of nonviolent protest to many in the Civil Rights Movement, and was a backbone of the historic 1963 March on Washington. At the President's request, he counseled Lyndon Johnson on how best to handle the aftermath of King's assassination in 1968. In the 1980's, he counseled Lech Walesa on the use of nonviolent resistance.
The reason you've probably never heard of him is because he was also gay. After being prosecuted for a homosexual encounter, he was deserted by many of the movement leaders. But he continued to work tirelessly and bravely behind the scenes, choosing obscurity for the sake of the movement.
Obviously, this is a complex topic for the young adult audience, but Miller respects their intelligence and handles his material deftly, without skirting the issues. The book includes a timeline, citations of sources, a bibliography, and related web sites. It is also lavishly illustrated, with archival photos and artwork on about every fourth page.