In Defiant, Wade Hudson, award-winning coeditor of The Talk and Recognize!, takes a critical look at the strides and struggles of the past in this revelatory and moving memoir about a young Black man growing up in the South during the heart of the civil rights movement.
“With his compelling memoir, Hudson will inspire young readers to emulate his ideals and accomplishments.” —Booklist, starred review
Born in 1946 in Mansfield, Louisiana, Wade Hudson came of age against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. From their home on Mary Street, his close-knit family watched as the country grappled with desegregation; as the Klan targeted the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama; and as systemic racism struck across the nation and in their hometown.
Amidst it all, Wade was growing up—getting into scuffles, playing baseball, immersing himself in his church community, and starting to write. Most important, Wade learned how to find his voice and use it. From his family, his community, and his college classmates, Wade learned the importance of fighting for change by confronting the laws and customs that marginalized and demeaned people.
This powerful memoir reveals the struggles, joys, love, and ongoing resilience that it took to grow up Black in segregated America, and the lessons that carry over to our fight for a better future.
About the Author
Wade Hudson is an author, a publisher, and the president and CEO of Just Us Books, Inc., an independent publisher of books for children and young adults. He has published over thirty books, including the anthologies We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, which received four starred reviews; The Talk, which earned four starred reviews and was a New York Times Best Book of the Year; and Recognize!: An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life. These powerful collections were coedited with his wife, Cheryl Willis Hudson.
Defiant is Wade’s homage to the Black people he knew in Mansfield as much as it is his story about growing up there. These were the people who nurtured and loved him even as they fought for their own survival under Jim Crow. It is also the story of a youngster trying to find meaning and purpose in a defining era when issues such as civil rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and resistance against the Vietnam War played out regularly on the news. It is about finding one’s voice and joining the fight for justice and equality.
Wade lives in East Orange, New Jersey, with his wife.