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Black History Month

 

 

Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)

A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. It took 8 weeks to organize the march and Rustin did it without cell phones, email, or social media. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. In 2013 Rustin was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.