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


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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