“This is the time. We won’t stop until we change the whole system of justice.” —Reverend Al Sharpton
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 theGet Your Knee Off Our NecksCommitment 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.
Righteous Troublemakers shines a light on everyday people called to do extraordinary things—like Pauli Murray, whose early work inspired Thurgood Marshall, Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus months before Rosa Parks did the same, and 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, revealing overlooked details, historical connections, and a perspective informed by years of working in the social justice movement.
At the same time, this book 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.
Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.
Also, don't miss Reverend Sharpton's previous book, Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads. Michael Eric Dyson calls it "a gift from Al Sharpton to us.”