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Explore the book

The Undefeated

We learned that the title of Kwame Alexander's book was inspired by a quote from author and activist Maya Angelou. Follow the links to hear her poem 'And still I rise'.

The Survivors

Kadir Nelson says about this painting:


“I just really think about people in my family, people that I know, who are the unsung heroes. The people throughout history who we don't necessarily know — who we may never know — but all their contributions to the story of America are just as important.”


Find out about ordinary people in your family or community with African heritage who others might not have heard of. What kind of things have they achieved? What hurdles did they overcome? If you find a story which you think deserves to be heard, make sure you tell us about it!


Here are a few places to start:


The righteous marching ones...

Listen to the Freedom Singers from 1963 leading the crowd as they sing "we shall not be moved".
If you are interested in finding out more about the Black Lives Matter movement who organised marches in 2020, you can follow the link below.

...who shine their light for the world to see...

Kadir Nelson named this painting "The Talented Tenth". Try using Google Arts and Culture to search for the names of the painters and sculptors to see more of their work. (You can also find out about Kadir Nelson's new portrait and the story behind it).

The Unafraid

Visit DK to learn more about the American Civil War, the reasons behind it, and the soldiers who fought in it.

Heroes of Sport

Take a look at this clip from Michael Jordan, one of the sportsmen featured in the book. How does it relate to the message of "The Undefeated"? 

Find out more about inspiring Black British sports stars and the obstacles they have had to overcome to achieve their dreams. How are they using their influence to make other people's lives better?

The Unstoppable

Martin Luther King Jnr was a significant figure in the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America. A baptist preacher, he was used to inspiring crowds of people and is most famous for his "I have a dream" speech. King believed that people of all races should work together in a non-violent way for peace. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 


Listen to the speech quoted in The Undefeated and find out lots more information about King and other Peace Prize Winners.



We Real Cool

Listen to music by some of these famous African American artists: Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk

A great place to start is Louis Armstrong:



The phrase "We Real Cool" comes from a poem by Gwendoline Brooks. You can find out more about it and hear the poem in this video from the Poetry Foundation: