On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people flooded Washington, D.C., marching in one of the largest peaceful demonstrations in American history — and listening with bated breath to speeches and performances by figures like NAACP leader Roy Wilkins, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, and, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr.
50 years later, celebrated author/illustrator — and wife/husband — team Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney are celebrating that milestone with a new picture book, Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song. As the title implies, the story focuses on the friendship between Jackson and King, as well as the pair’s shared connections.
“Each of their personal stories kind of mirror each other,” Davis Pinkney explained to EW. “You see young Martin in the church, speaking the gospel, praying the gospel, seeking it, teaching it. And there’s Mahalia as a child — as it says, she sang the gospel, worked the gospel, led the gospel, spread the gospel. Those beautiful ribbons of harmony came together throughout the civil rights movement.”
For more on Jackson and King’s unique relationship and the book itself — not to mention a glimpse at one of Pinkney’s gorgeous painted illustrations — check out the rest of our interview below.
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