Bayard Rustin, one of the greatest leaders in the Civil Rights Movement was born on March 17, 1912. He would have been 100 years old today. I know TSM has honored this hero before, but I can’t resist honoring him again. As a country, we are forever in his debt.
Not many people know that it was Bayard Rustin, close confidante to Dr. King, that worked with King on techniques for nonviolent resistance. Yes, that’s right NONVIOLENT–what a world away we are now, with the likes of good old whitey Palin and Angle promoting violence. Rustin was an openly gay black man working tirelessly for civil rights. I cannot fully articulate my admiration for this man. Of course at the time he was working with Dr. King, it was illegal just to be homosexual. Some believe that Rustin’s effectiveness was compromised because he was openly gay. Unfortunately, Rustin started to worry that his integral part in the civil rights movement would undermine the efficacy of the movement and thus offered to step aside. King supported Rustin’s move to step aside. As much as I respect and honor Dr. King, I wish he would have shown more support for Rustin. Here is a great video clip that credits Rustin for the March on Washington in 1963. To learn more about Bayard Rustin, I encourage you to read a great biography called, lost prophet:the life and times of Bayard Rustin. There is also a movie about his life called: Brother Outsider.