A powerful figure. A peaceful activist. College-educated. He was Dr. Martin Luther King's top advisor. Bayard Rustin was the architect of Dr. King's historic March on Washington in 1963.
Rustin introduced the Mahatma Gandhi's practices of non-violent resistance and political protest to Dr. King. At the March on Washington, where Dr. King made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, you can see Bayard Rustin behind him on the podium. Bayard Rustin gave Dr. King's civil rights movement large mighty wings that enabled it to soar and make the whole world take notice of the cause.
Rustin was a talented intellect. He was a musician and a singer who performed onstage with the legendary stage and film singer/actor and fellow activist, Paul Robeson.
Bayard Rustin also recorded albums.
Bayard Rustin's service to Civil Rights and other social issues was colossal. He was a complicated Quaker -- and an openly gay African-American man at a time when one was supposed to keep that business way back in the closet. If you're a young gay male American and you know more about Andy Cohen and some overly-made-up Real Housewives than you do about this great gay activist, then you need to spend the next 20 minutes or so with this blog post. If you're African-American and you don't know about this man, you really need to watch what I've posted.
Here's a trailer for BROTHER OUTSIDER, a documentary about Bayard Rustin.
Bayard Rustin died in 1987 at age 75. He did not live to see America elect its first Black president. He did not live to see marriage equality become law in the United States. In 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Mr. Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. For years, the monumental contributions of Bayard Rustin to the Civil Rights movement were not highlighted and honored or discussed in mainstream media because he was gay. He should've been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom during his lifetime. There should be a big screen biopic on his life in production. This brilliant, vital man who organized the March on Washington had love in his life. He was survived by a partner. They lived together in the Chelsea section of New York City.
Take 16 minutes and meet him here in the short documentary feature called BAYARD & ME.