Bayard

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bayard-01.png

Bayard

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Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights.  In 1936, he moved to Harlem, New York City, where he earned a living as a nightclub and stage singer.

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A member of the Communist Party before 1941, he collaborated with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in 1941 to press for an end to discrimination in employment.

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He was a leading activist of the early Civil Rights Movement, helping to initiate a 1947 Freedom Ride to challenge, with civil disobedience, the racial segregation issue related to interstate busing. He recognized Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen King's leadership.

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Rustin promoted the philosophy of nonviolence and the practices of nonviolent resistance, which he had observed while working with Mahatma Gandhi's movement in India, and helped teach Martin Luther King, Jr. about nonviolence.

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Rustin became a leading strategist of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to 1968. He was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was headed by A. Philip Randolph, the leading African-American labor-union president and socialist.

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Rustin was a gay man who had been arrested throughout his early career for engaging in public sex with white male prostitutes. Rustin's sexuality, or at least his public criminal charge, was criticized by some fellow pacifists and civil-rights leaders because it detracted from his effectiveness.

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Rustin was attacked as a "pervert" or "immoral influence" by political opponents from segregationists to conservative black leaders from the 1950s through the 1970s.

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In addition, his pre-1941 Communist Party affiliation when he was a young man was controversial, having caused scrutiny by the FBI. To avoid such attacks, Rustin served rarely as a public spokesperson.

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He usually acted as an influential adviser behind the scenes to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes.

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#February 

 

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(M) 24x36 in
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(XL) 60x40 in

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