Book: ‘Righteous Troublemakers’ Explores Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Era

Reverend Al Sharpton's book "Righteous Troublemakers"
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Photo: National Action Network

Reverend Al Sharpton has just released a new book "Righteous Troublemakers" about unsung sheroes and heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

In the summer of 2020, Reverend Al Sharpton stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, preparing to give the keynote address of the Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Commitment March. He noticed an older man in the crowd wearing a button from Dr. King’s 1963 march. The man told Sharpton that he had, in fact, been to the original March on Washington. “And,” he said, “I’ll keep coming back until we see justice.”

While the mainstream media may know the major names of the movement, there are countless lesser-known heroes like this man who “keep coming back,” fighting the good fight to advance equal justice for all. Whether working in civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, or in environmental justice, they heed the call when no one else is listening, often risking their lives and livelihoods in the process.

In Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America (Hanover Square Press; 1/11/22), the Reverend Al Sharpton shines a light on everyday people called to do extraordinary things, including:

  • Pauli Murray, whose early work informed Thurgood Marshall’s legal argument for Brown v. Board of Education
  • Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus months before Rosa Parks did the same
  • Gwen Carr, whose private pain in losing her son Eric Garner stoked her public activism against police brutality Sharpton also gives his personal take on more widely known individuals (Emmett Till, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and more) revealing overlooked details, historical connections, and a perspective informed by years of working on the front line of the social justice movement .

At the same time, Righteous Troublemakers details the tumultuous year following George Floyd’s murder, with Sharpton delivering an up close and personal look at the behind-the-scenes work that forced today’s national reckoning on race. Here, he reveals his relationship with the Floyd family, the emotional moments that impacted him most, and why his work—and ours—isn’t finished, all while offering timeless lessons about the enduring strength and moral courage of the American people. For anyone who wants to be a changemaker or believes that truth and justice are worthwhile pursuits, Righteous Troublemakers is as inspirational as it is essential.

Rev. Al Sharpton is the host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” and the founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), one of the leading civil rights organizations in the world. With over 40 years of experience as a community leader, politician, minister and advocate, the Rev. Al Sharpton is one of America’s most-renowned civil rights leaders. Sharpton also hosts the nationally syndicated radio show, “Keepin’ It Real”, which broadcasts in 40 markets, five days a week. He resides in New York.


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