bayard rustin

Gay, Black, and Quaker: History Catches Up with Bayard Rustin

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As NAACP President Ben Jealous told the Times last week, “it’s become clear that, just as Bayard Rustin admonished us all, that we would either stand together or die apart.”

Who admonished us?” readers must have asked. Bayard Rustin’s role as advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and as organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech) should have assured his place in American social and political history. But Rustin has long been denied his proper place—largely because he was an openly gay man.

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Melissa Harris-Perry: LGBT Advocates Need Public Progressive Faith

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“As a black, feminist, marriage-equality advocate I reside at an important intersection in this struggle. This movement must acknowledge the unique history of racial oppression, while still revealing the interconnections of all marriage exclusion. This work must reflect the feminist critique of marriage, while still acknowledging the ancient, cross-cultural, human attachment to marriage. This work must be staunchly supportive of same-sex marriage, while rejecting a marriage-normative framework that silences the contributions of queer life.”

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