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Bayard Rustin (Birthday)
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was an American civil rights activist who worked as an influential organizer and behind-the-scenes adviser to many causes throughout the civil rights era. Rustin began his organizing career working alongside fellow activist A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in the early 1940s, which campaigned for the desegregation of the US armed forces. Rustin later played a central organizing role in other key civil rights actions such as the Freedom Rides and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King - whom Rustin had schooled on methods of non-violence and helped elevate to his leadership position in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Rustin continued his career as an activist following the passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, promoting the unionization of African American workers and working internationally to aid war refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia while raising awareness to the ongoing plight of Jews living in the Soviet Union. A gay man who chose to play a supporting role in the Civil Rights Movement due to public criticisms of his homosexuality, Rustin spent his final years working on behalf of LGBT causes during the 1980s.
Friday, March 17, 2023
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