home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 
 
 
Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright
 
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
 
 
 
 
subscribe
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
 
 
 
  unsubscribe
 
 
Popular Topics in Literature
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
 
Byron, George Gordon, Lord Byron, George Gordon, Lord
The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.
 
Modern Drama Modern Drama
Before Stonewall, censorship of the theater caused authors to encode homosexual content in publicly-presented plays.
 
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
 
Selvadurai, Shyam
Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has emerged as a significant figure in post-colonial and gay writing by virtue of the style, wit, and perspicacity of his three novels.
 
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
 
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
 
Philippine Literature
A vigorous gay and lesbian literature emerged in the Philippines in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
 
Congratulations
 
Remembering Bayard Rustin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/20/14
Last updated on: 01/20/14
 
Bookmark and Share

As we celebrate the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we fittingly remember the contributions of Bayard Rustin to the civil rights movement. One of the key African-American civil rights activists of the twentieth century, Rustin and his legacy were long obscured because of embarrassment over his homosexuality and early involvement in the Communist Party.

Although Rustin's activism dates back to 1941, when he worked closely with J. Philip Randolph to organize the 1941 African-American March on Washington, he is best known for his close association with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s and 1960s. Together, they created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which they hoped to use to further the nonviolent civil rights protest movement in the South.

Rustin was one of the most brilliant tacticians of the civil rights movement, but his openness as a homosexual, and an arrest in California in 1953 for "lewd conduct," as well as his early membership in the Communist Party, made many see him as a liability. Nevertheless, he eventually became one of Dr. Martin Luther King's closest advisors. Arguably, it was Rustin who most deeply influenced King's understanding and use of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Adversaries of Dr. King within the civil rights movement were prepared to use Rustin's homosexuality against him. For example, in 1960, as Rustin prepared to help King lead protests outside of the Democractic National Convention, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell pressured King to call off the protest, threatening to accuse Rustin and King of having a homosexual affair.

King gave in to Powell, and Rustin resigned from King's staff. He was devastated by Powell's ruthlessness and by what he saw as King's betrayal, though he continued to advise the civil rights leader.

In 1963, however, Rustin was asked to organize the highly visible 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. It was at this venue that King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Although segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond attempted to discredit the 1963 march because it was organized by a "communist, draft dodger, and homosexual," Rustin remained active in the movement. He worked tirelessly to organize a number of successful protests, actions, and demonstrations.

In spite of his successes, however, Rustin never quite overcame the damage that had been done to his reputation, and in the late 1970s he was marginalized by the militants who assumed control of the civil rights movement.

On November 20, 2013, in a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House, President Obama awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. It was accepted by Walter Naegle, who was Rustin's life partner.

In his later years, Rustin continued to fight for social justice. He protested the Vietnam War and became active in the gay rights movement.

There is currently underway a compaign to pressure the United States Post Office to issue a postal stamp issued in Rustin's honor.

The official launch of the Bayard Rustin USA/National Stamp Campaign will be announced at NGLTF's 2014 Creating Change Conference in Houston from January 29 through February 2. The campaign is spearheaded by Naegle and San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, reported Thom Senzee in San Diego's LGBT Weekly.

In the clip below from Jeff Dupre's 1998 documentary Out of the Past, Rustin's role in the civil rights movement is discussed by both historians and fellow participants such as Congressman John Lewis.

 
Related Encyclopedia Entries
 
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
 
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
 
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.