Way Back Story #2

Way Back Wednesday: Mini Biography of Bayard Rustin 

Bayard Rustin was an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, nonviolence, socialism, and gay rights.

Born in March 17, 1912 in West Chester, Pennsylvania as well for the lead organizer of the March on Washington. Rustin was raised mostly by his wealthy grandparents in a large house Julia Rustin (His grandmother) was a Quaker although she attended her husband African Methodist episcopal. She was heavily active in being a nurse and a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
 She then introduced Bayard to both good deeds and civic activism, Bayard Rustin was a gay man as well and due to criticism over his sexuality he was cast in the shadows and worked behind the scenes as a influential adviser behind the scenes of well know civil rights leader such as Martin Luther king Jr. In the 1980s, he became a pubic advocate of gay causes, speaking at events as an activist and supporter of human rights. 
  Later in life, while still devoted to securing workers right, Rustin joined other union leaders in aligning with ideological neoconservatism and even after his death Former President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 Bayard did not engage in any gay rights activism until the 1980s. He was urged to do so by his partner Walter Naegle. Due to the lack of marriage equality at the time, Rustin and Naegle took the unusual but smart step of Rustin adopting Naegle for legal protection to their relationship.
When Rustin died on August 24th 1987, of a perforated appendix. An obituary in The New York Times reported;
  • Nonviolent tactics
  • Constitutional rights
  • Democratic procedures
  • And respect for humans rights
He was hospitalized Friday and underwent surgery for acute appendicitis. He had complained of stomach pains after returning from a trip to Haiti.
At 75 years old being one of the greatest practitioners and theorists of the civil rights movement and a principal organizer of the great 1963 March on Washington, in which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Had his most famous speeches "I have a dream," died yesterday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City after a heart attack as this day he will go down in history of being a key leader in being civil activist, nonviolent protester, and while standing up for gay rights.


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