1995: John Egerton
Speak Now Against the Day / Warriors Don't Cry
1995: John Egerton

John Egerton received the 1995 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. History recalls Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and the other brave leaders of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. But a tide of civil rights proponents grew more vocal with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election in 1932, and Egerton tells the story of these brave women and men who paved the way for the greatest advances in social justice in American history.

John Egerton was a journalist and author whose work focused on the history and culture of the American South. He died in 2013.

Runner Up - Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education,Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. 

Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity and courage, and refused to back down. 

This is her remarkable story.