Monday, January 16, 2012

Bayard Rustin - Gay man in the Civil Rights Movement

Today is the national holiday celebrating the birthday of the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While he definitely embodied the civil rights movement and the promise this country made about equality better than anyone I ever know, let's not forget those who aided him along the way, particularly the architect and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington as well as one of his personal aides, Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a genius, a man before his time whose gay orientation stood in the way of him getting the recognition he deserved. That is until now.

Of course the irony is that even if Rustin had gotten the recognition he deserved before he died, he probably wouldn't have cared. He was a man devoted to fighting injustice anywhere he saw it:

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Anonymous said...

And this March would have been Rustin's hundreth birthday. I'd love to see a federal holiday for him too.

Linnea said...

I'd be willing to bet I'm one of the few (white) people my age (35) who's heard of Rustin before. I took a class on the civil rights movement in college, and our professor mentioned him. Recently, I found a biography of Rustin and read it in a few sittings. What a fascinating man...