A Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington

Regular price $ 19.99

by Carole Boston Weatherford & Rob Sanders, illustrated by Byron McCray

Henry Holt & Company

11/8/2022, hardcover

SKU: 9781250779502


A singular, richly illustrated picture book biography of Bayard Rustin, the gay Black man behind the March on Washington of 1963, by the acclaimed authors of Unspeakable: the Tulsa Race Massacre and Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.

On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million activists and demonstrators from every corner of the United States convened for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was there and then that they raised their voices in unison to call for racial and economic justice for all Black Americans, to call out inequities, and ultimately to advance the Civil Rights Movement.

Every movement has its unsung heroes: individuals who work in the background without praise or accolades, who toil and struggle without notice. One of those unsung heroes was at the center of some of the most important decisions and events of the Civil Rights Movement.

That hero was a quiet man, a gay African American man. He was Bayard Rustin.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Rob Sanders's A Song for the Unsung, featuring illustrations from artist Byron McCray, is an inspiring story that answers one of our nation's greatest calls to action by honoring one of the men who made it happen.


"A rare tribute to a heroic figure of the civil rights movement... McCray captures both a sense of the time's widespread turmoil and of the march's grand "mosaic of Americans" in collages that incorporate acrylics, scraps of newspaper, music, and decorated papers... Effectively raises the profile of an African American crusader who was stigmatized for more than his race alone." -- Kirkus Reviews

"McCray's gorgeous collage-and-acrylic illustrations make the book truly memorable, with newsprint and sheet music (often from the gospel and protest songs referenced on each page) adding motion to the rich, saturated hues." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A splendid tribute to a true hero of the civil rights movement." -- Booklist, starred review

About the Contributors:

Carole Boston Weatherford, a two-time NAACP Image Award winner, has authored more than sixty books, including the Newbery Honor title Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom and four Caldecott Honor Books, among them Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, Unspeakable: the Tulsa Race Massacre, Freedom in Congo Square. She is a professor at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Rob Sanders is a former elementary school teacher who writes funny and fierce fiction and nonfiction. He is recognized as one of the pioneers in the arena of LGBTQIA+ literary nonfiction picture books. Rob is the acclaimed author of titles such as Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow FlagStonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights; and Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg. He lives in Brandon, Florida.

Byron McCray is an artist and graphic designer who proudly represents his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. His passion for color, music of all genres, and telling the stories of Black culture is expressed through mixed-media portraiture and a diverse clientele of corporate businesses and community-based organizations. Today, he paints to the soundtrack of rhythm and blues while living in Connecticut with his husband, Nicholas, and dog, aptly named Brooklyn. A Song for the Unsung is his debut picture book as an illustrator.