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social sciences

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Rustin, Bayard (1910-1987)  
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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, he never quite overcame the damage that had been done to his reputation.

Recognized as one of the most brilliant tacticians of the civil rights movement, Rustin was appointed chairman of the A. P. Randolph Institute, a liberal think tank that advocated a transformation of society as a means to fight social and economic injustice. Critics refer to his decision to accept this appointment, which he held for 15 years, as his "turn to the right," but Rustin remained committed to radical reforms.

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However, as someone committed to nonviolent social change and to the building of coalitions with others, he was marginalized by the militants who emerged in the late 1970s and assumed control of the civil rights movement.

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

He died in New York City on August 24, 1987.

Geoffrey W. Bateman

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Anderson, Jervis. Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen: A Biography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

D'Emilio, John. "Homophobia and the Trajectory of Postwar American Radicalism: The Career of Bayard Rustin." Modern American Queer History. Allida M. Black, ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001. 79-99.

_____. Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin. New York: Free Press, 2003.

Rustin, Bayard. Down the Line: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971.

_____. Strategies for Freedom: The Changing Patters of Black Protest. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.

_____. Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin. Devon W. Carbado and Donald Weise, eds. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2003.


    Citation Information
    Author: Bateman, Geoffrey W.  
    Entry Title: Rustin, Bayard  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated February 12, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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