From the WireAuthors

In Conversation: Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

Step into the fascinating world of civil rights history with authors and experts Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long. In their latest collaboration, “More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” they delve deep into the roots and significance of the iconic protest. From discussing the role of Black women organizers to highlighting overlooked demands and moments, Williams and Long demonstrate that the march was about more than just Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech. Their research and writing process provide valuable insights, while emphasizing the relevance of this historic event in our ongoing struggle for economic and racial justice.

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long
Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long are esteemed authors and experts in the field of civil rights history. Together, they have co-written a number of books that shed light on significant events and figures from the civil rights movement. In particular, their children’s book, “Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter,” explores the incredible life and impact of Jackie Robinson.

The Book: Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter

“Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter” is a captivating book that delves into the extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson. This book not only highlights his achievements as a legendary baseball player but also showcases his vital contributions to the fight for Black freedom. Through compelling storytelling, Williams and Long bring to life the challenges and triumphs that Robinson experienced throughout his journey.


This book presents a comprehensive overview of Jackie Robinson’s life, emphasizing his role as a Black freedom fighter beyond the baseball diamond. It illuminates his determination to break down racial barriers and make a lasting impact on American society. By examining the adversities Robinson faced, the authors provide a deeper understanding of the racial climate during his time and the lasting legacy he left behind.

Themes Explored

Within the pages of “Call Him Jack,” Williams and Long explore several overarching themes that were central to Jackie Robinson’s life. They delve into the concepts of racial justice, equality, and the fight for civil rights, using Robinson’s experiences as a lens to understand the broader struggles of the Black community at the time.

They also examine the importance of perseverance, resilience, and breaking down barriers. Robinson’s unwavering determination to succeed, despite facing immense prejudice and discrimination, serves as an inspiration to all who read the book.

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom

New Book: More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long’s latest book, “More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” delves into a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. This book goes beyond the surface of the famous March on Washington and explores its radical roots and the vital role of Black women organizers.


“More Than a Dream” provides a comprehensive look at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963. While many are familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech during the march, this book delves deeper into the event, uncovering the underlying radicalism and diversity of voices that shaped it.

Exploration of Radical Roots

The authors explore the radical roots of the March on Washington, emphasizing that it was much more than a single day of peaceful protest. They shed light on the activist movements that laid the groundwork for the march, including labor and civil rights organizations that fought tirelessly for economic justice and racial equality.

This exploration offers readers a more nuanced understanding of the march and its significance within the broader context of the civil rights movement. By examining the radical ideologies that shaped the event, Williams and Long challenge conventional narratives and present a more accurate depiction of the march.

Role of Black Women Organizers

In “More Than a Dream,” Williams and Long shine a spotlight on the often overlooked role of Black women organizers in the March on Washington. Despite facing multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization, Black women played pivotal roles in organizing and mobilizing for the event.

By highlighting the contributions of Black women such as Dorothy Height, Ella Baker, and Fannie Lou Hamer, the authors ensure that their invaluable efforts are recognized and celebrated. This inclusion is crucial in presenting a more comprehensive account of the march and the diverse range of activists involved.

Research and Writing Process

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long’s approach to research and writing reflects their dedication to accuracy, detail, and nuance.

Approach to Research

Extensive research is a cornerstone of their work, ensuring that their books are well-informed and provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the historical events and figures they explore. They meticulously examine primary sources, including archives, personal interviews, and historical records, to gather the most accurate information possible.


The collaboration between Williams and Long is key to the success of their books. Their combined expertise and insights contribute to a more nuanced and balanced portrayal of historical events and figures. By working together, they bring a diverse range of perspectives to their writing and ensure that their books resonate with a wide audience.

Challenges and Rewards

Researching and writing about civil rights history comes with its own set of challenges. Williams and Long acknowledge the difficulty of delving into painful and traumatic topics from the past. However, they also recognize the importance of shedding light on these crucial moments in history and ensuring that they are not forgotten.

The rewards of their work are undeniable. Through their books, Williams and Long are able to educate readers, particularly young readers, about the struggles and triumphs of those who fought for civil rights. By presenting these stories in an engaging and accessible manner, they inspire readers to learn from the past and strive for a more just and equitable future.

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Recognizing Echoes of the Past

Understanding historical context is essential for comprehending contemporary events. Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long emphasize the importance of recognizing echoes of the past in our present-day struggles for justice and equality.

Importance of Historical Context

By studying history, we can gain valuable insights into the roots of current issues and draw connections between past and present. Williams and Long argue that without a solid understanding of historical context, it becomes challenging to address systemic issues effectively. History provides critical context, enabling us to recognize patterns, learn from past mistakes, and work towards meaningful change.

Lessons for Contemporary Events

The authors believe that historical events such as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom hold invaluable lessons for contemporary events. By analyzing the strategies and tactics employed during the civil rights movement, we can gain inspiration and guidance for current struggles.

Williams and Long contend that the stories of activists from the past serve as a source of empowerment and motivation. By showcasing the bravery, determination, and resilience of those who fought for change, they inspire readers to take action and advocate for a more just and equitable society.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, held on August 28, 1963, stands as a pivotal moment in American history. Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long provide an overview of the march, highlighting its significance and key moments.

Overview of the March

The March on Washington brought together approximately 250,000 people from all walks of life to advocate for economic justice and civil rights. It was a monumental gathering that united individuals from different racial backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, and regions of the country.

Key Moments

Beyond Martin Luther King Jr.’s renowned “I Have a Dream” speech, the march witnessed numerous other key moments that deserve recognition. Williams and Long shed light on speeches delivered by other influential civil rights leaders such as John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, and A. Philip Randolph. These speeches galvanized the crowds and showcased the collective determination to fight for equality and justice.


The March on Washington was not merely a display of solidarity; it was a call for action. The demands put forth during the event were multifaceted but centered around the fight for economic justice, desegregation, and freedom. The march organizers advocated for equal job opportunities, fair wages, an end to racial segregation, and protection of civil rights.

Economic Justice and the National Minimum Wage

Economic justice was a central theme of the March on Washington, and Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long delve into the advocacy for economic justice and the call for a national minimum wage.

Advocacy for Economic Justice

The organizers of the March on Washington recognized that economic inequality was deeply intertwined with racial injustice. They understood that without addressing economic disparities, true liberation and equality would remain out of reach for Black Americans. The fight for economic justice was a crucial component of the march, with activists emphasizing the need for fair wages, access to employment, and an end to discriminatory practices in the workforce.

The Call for a National Minimum Wage

Among the demands of the March on Washington was the call for a national minimum wage. Activists believed that a fair and livable wage was essential to ensure economic stability and upward mobility for all Americans. By advocating for a national minimum wage, they sought to challenge the systemic exploitation and economic oppression faced disproportionately by marginalized communities.

Student Activists and Black Women in the March

While the voices of Black women and student activists were often marginalized or overlooked, they played integral roles in the March on Washington. Williams and Long shed light on their contributions and the impact they had during the event.

The Roles of Student Activists

Student activists were at the forefront of social and political change during the civil rights movement. Many young individuals from various backgrounds organized and participated in the March on Washington, bringing energy, passion, and fresh perspectives to the movement. Their dedication and activism showcased the power and resilience of the younger generation.

The Voices of Black Women

Although often relegated to the sidelines, Black women played essential roles in organizing the March on Washington. Their contributions were invaluable, yet their voices were frequently underrepresented in mainstream narratives of the event. Williams and Long make a concerted effort to shine a light on the accomplishments and remarkable leadership of Black women such as Dorothy Height, Ella Baker, and Fannie Lou Hamer, ensuring that their stories are told and appreciated.

Highlighting Issues of Police Brutality and Race-Related Violence

One of the significant aspects of the March on Washington was its spotlight on issues of police brutality and race-related violence. Williams and Long address the exposure of police brutality during the march and the urgent need to address racial violence.

Exposing Police Brutality

The March on Washington was a platform for exposing the realities of police brutality faced by the Black community. Activists used the event as an opportunity to shed light on the violence and systemic discrimination inflicted upon Black individuals by law enforcement. By drawing attention to these issues, the march organizers compelled the nation to confront the injustice and demand change.

Addressing Race-Related Violence

In addition to police brutality, the March on Washington brought attention to race-related violence in all its forms. Activists emphasized the need to address racial violence, whether it be in the form of hate crimes, segregation, or systemic racism. The march served as a vehicle for demanding an end to these forms of violence and advocating for laws and policies that upheld racial equality and justice.

Relevance of the March Today

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long argue that the March on Washington is still relevant today, and its significance should not be forgotten. They explain why understanding the historic significance of the march is crucial and stress the importance of continuing the fight for economic and racial justice.

Understanding the Historic Significance

The March on Washington remains a turning point in American history. It was a powerful demonstration of unity, collective action, and resilience. Understanding the historical significance of the march enables us to fully appreciate the progress that has been made while recognizing the work that still needs to be done.

Continuing the Fight for Economic and Racial Justice

The authors highlight the continued importance of advocating for economic and racial justice. Despite the progress made since the March on Washington, systemic inequalities and injustices persist. Williams and Long contend that the lessons learned from the activists of the past can guide us in our ongoing fight for a society that is truly equitable, inclusive, and just. By drawing inspiration from the past, we can fuel our efforts to create a better world for future generations.

In conclusion, Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long have made significant contributions to the study of civil rights history through their writings. Their books, “Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter” and “More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” offer comprehensive insights into important historical events and figures that have shaped American society. By exploring themes of racial justice, economic equality, and the contributions of marginalized voices, they inspire readers to learn from the past and work towards a more just and inclusive future.