LGBTQ* People You Should Know
Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987)
* Civil Rights and Activism Leader
* Practiced Nonviolence (Member of Fellowship for Reconciliation)
* Organized the 1963 March on Washington (the LARGEST nonviolent protest in the United States)
* Strategist and Adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
* Worked to strengthen labor unions and promote equal working enviroments
* Rustin was arrested more times for being homosexual than for participating in civil rights protests as a man of color (in the 1960s, homosexuality was still criminalized)
* In the 1970s-1980s, Rustin worked with Freedom House.
— From Rustin’s Speech “The New Niggers Are Gays”
Today, blacks are no longer the litmus paper or the barometer of social change. Blacks are in every segment of society and there are laws that help to protect them from racial discrimination. The new “niggers” are gays… . It is in this sense that gay people are the new barometer for social change… . The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people.
Bayard Rustin’s life is briefly mentioned in the film BEFORE STONEWALL, discussed in COMING OUT OF THE PAST and featured in the documentary Brother Outsider.
**PLFAG MOM also posted about Bayard Rustin earlier today. Her blog includes a video of Rustin speaking. You should check it out for more information.