The Rabbi and the Reverend: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr., and Their Fight against Silence

Audrey Ades

Lerner Publishing Group, 2021

Agent: Suzy Evans

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, he did not stand alone. He was joined by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a refugee from Nazi Germany, who also addressed the crowd. Though Rabbi Prinz and Dr. King came from very different backgrounds, they were united by a shared belief in justice. And they knew that remaining silent in the face of injustice was wrong. Together, they spoke up and fought for a better future.


“Ades’ book is a timely corrective to the often strained relations between America’s Jewish and Black communities. The back matter (a timeline of King’s and Prinz’s lives, a glossary, and suggested readings) fleshes out the history for curious adults or older readers. We need more books at a middle school and YA level that explore the extensive collaboration between Jews and Blacks in the civil rights movement."

-- Marjorie Gann, retired teacher; co-author (with Janet Willen) of Five Thousand Years of Slavery and Speak a Word for Freedom: Women Against Slavery (Tundra/Penguin Random House) Toronto, Canada, AJL Newsletter


"Ades’s prose is affecting and effective in its directness: “In Germany, he had seen what could happen when people stood by while their neighbors suffered.” Fedele’s art evokes paintings and line drawings in a retro palette, offering a rich complement to this striking narrative of interfaith, cross-cultural support for equality."

--Publishers Weekly

"Two activists’ paths overlap as they call out systems of injustice.

Joachim Prinz was born in 1902 in Germany, and he became the country’s youngest rabbi in 1926. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Prinz spoke up against antisemitism and was arrested several times before finally leaving Germany for the United States in 1937—where he was dismayed to find Black people being deprived of equal rights, as Jews had been in Germany. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Jr. experienced segregation as a boy in the 1930s. When he became a leader of the civil rights movement, the two leaders met, supported each other, and fought together. The juxtaposition of these two leaders’ paths and the explanation of what their causes, beliefs, and communities had in common is, in Ades’ hands, a well-woven historical tale that is worth sharing and spreading. The culmination of the story in 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom allows young readers to see both that King was not the only speaker at that famous event and that those by his side had also worked for years. The illustrations focus largely on the main figures but also offer scenes of daily life in Germany and the United States. Scenes of protest are styled, scrapbooklike, as black-and-white faux photos against monochromatic backgrounds. Details from each leader’s childhood add depth to their stories, and the focus on silence as the enemy points to readers’ responsibility to speak up against injustice."

--Kirkus Reviews