The late Bayard Rustin was a proud Black gay man who was an indispensable architect of the Civil Rights Movement. His most noteworthy achievements include serving as chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, mentoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and helping to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). To honor Bayard Rustin’s courage and his invaluable legacy, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has launched the Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project.
Led by NBJC founding member and veteran lesbian activist Mandy Carter, the initiative is comprised of ongoing collaborations with Walter Naegle, Rustin’s surviving partner and Executor/Archivist of the Estate of Bayard Rustin. All across the country events ranging from ‘Brother Outsider’ screenings to discussion forums, to Bayard Rustin cd listening parties are taking place.
“Every year, during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday we hear the iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, which was delivered at the 1963 March on Washington,” says Carter, Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project National Coordinator. “Yet, most people do not know that Bayard Rustin, an out Black gay man, was the key organizer for that groundbreaking event. America needs to know that Bayard existed. Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and same-gender-loving people need to know that Rustin stood firm in his identity and, by his very presence, challenged others in the Civil Rights Movement to overcome homophobia.”
How will you remember Bayard Rustin in your community?