The Undefeated

Longlist, National Book Awards 2019 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9781328780966
Versify, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt |
Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight books including Out of Wonder, a Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner, and Rebound, the prequel to his Newbery Award-Winning novel The Crossover. More about this author >

Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor recipient. Among his other awards are an NAACP Image Award, and the 2009 and 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Award. More about this author >

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Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.