The New Y ear days already are flying by, and there’s nothing I can do about it. New works are in the pipeline, even as I keep telling myself I should retire. But then I find another topic I want to explore or another character who needs unraveling, and I write. Realizing, though, that MLK Day is upon us yet again, I am reminded that previous books are still informative and worth reading and sharing. Along this line is WE ARE ONE: THE STORY OF BAYARD RUSTIN. It is so appropriate for MLK Day because it details the life of King’s most trusted advisor. Rustin was the man who penned King’s first published works and lent King’s name to the byline instead of his own. Quietly from a hotel room, he instructed King on Gandhi’s methods of nonviolent protest during the Montgomery bus boycott, created protest songs for that boycott, and urged King and others to “put on their Sunday best and turn themselves in rather than wait for the sheriff to arrest them like criminals” after warrants were issued on Boycott leaders–“charges that were meant to spread fear and end the protest.”
“The action had the desired effect. White community leaders didn’t know what to think while, Bayard said, ‘Negroes were thrilled to see their leaders surrender without being hunted down.'”
Rustin continued to advise King throughout King’s life, even when at times King denied that mentorship.
WE ARE ONE: THE STORY OF BAYARD RUSTIN (Calkins Creek, 2007). Available at your favorite online retailer or, by order, wherever fine books are sold. Jane Addams Children’s Book Award; Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award.