No Easy Answers: Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement

No Easy Answers: Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement

by Calvin Craig Miller
     
 

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
These biographies of two pivotal figures in the civil rights movement, A. Phillip Randolphand Bayard Rustin, are easy for middle school students to read, containing all the basic facts. They pale, however, in comparison to other works available in terms of scholarship, such as Catherine Reef's biography of Randolph in the African American Biography series (Enslow, 2001) or Sally Hanley's in the Black Americans of Achievement series (Chelsea House, 1988). Miller's smooth narrative style, however, weaves the personal stories of these two men together with the pivotal elements of their experiences and the larger political events of the time. Each opens with a seminal moment in the movement and then tells the story of how each man came to be a civil rights activist. Randolph's origins with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and his political writing in The Messenger as well as Rustin's ardent pacifism and his adoption of Ghandi's nonviolence tactics are described in detail against the backdrop of the depression, World War II, and the turmoil of the following two decades. The books do not avoid difficult issues but are prone to making sweeping generalizations for the sake of brevity and reading level. Rustin's homosexuality is discussed in terms of his long obscurity as he worked in the background so not to harm the movement with questions about his sexuality and his arrest for a homosexual act, but the word homosexuality is not in the index. Rustin's early communism and Randolph's socialism are included as well, with brief and general descriptions of what each political system means and how it attracted those pushing for racial equality in the United States. These men are not presentedas flawless or perfect heroes either and descriptions of tactical disagreements among high-profile figures in the movement and betrayals from other prominent African American leaders make the events vivid and realistically portrayed. Each book concludes with the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., for which these men shared the cover of Life magazine. Martin Luther King Jr. is featured more in the Rustin biography as they were closer in age. The time lines are brief, capturing only major events, but photographs include depictions of the Jim Crow figure that became symbolic of racist laws, artwork from the Harlem Renaissance, and signs that detail the extent of segregation in American life at the time. These books are easy-to-read supplemental biographies for collections where students do reports on famous figures of the civil rights movement, but if rigorous scholarship or detailed analysis of the political climate is required, they alone will not suffice. (Notable Americans/Civil Rights Leaders). VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2005, Morgan Reynolds, 160p.; Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. Chronology., PLB . Ages 11 to 14.
—Hillary Theyer
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Until recently, Rustin has gotten short shrift when people recall leaders of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. He organized the 1963 March on Washington and worked closely with Dr. King as his mentor and instructor in Gandhian nonviolent tactics. He urged King to create an organization to further the aims of black civil rights after the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Miller captures this important figure's fascinating life, bumps and all. He does this by exploring perhaps one of the central issues in Rustin's life-his homosexuality. Because the author has chosen to focus on this aspect of the man that is oftened glossed over or ignored, his book is an excellent starting point for students to learn about an almost forgotten leader.-Carol Jones Collins, Columbia High School, Maplewood, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931798433
Publisher:
Morgan Reynolds Pub
Publication date:
01/28/2005
Series:
Civil Rights Leaders Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
10 - 17 Years

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