Civil Rights Gay Pioneer Bayard Rustin Awarded 100th Birthday Proclamation

Civil Rights Pioneer Bayard Rustin Awarded 100th Birthday Proclamation

by Stuart Wilber on March 7, 2012

in Civil Rights,History,News,Politics,Stuart Wilber

Bayard Rustin, the openly gay African American who was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s right hand man responsible for a good deal of the civil rights activist’s tactical and strategic success has been awarded a proclamation by Tom Bates, the Democratic 74-year old highly-popular mayor of the City of Berkeley, California, to commemorate the upcoming anniversary of Rustin’s 100th birthday. Bayard Rustin was born March 17, 1912, and died August 24, 1987, in New York City.

The proclamation was presented last night by Berkeley by City Councilmember Darryl Moore at the Berkeley City Council meeting, and a copy of the proclamation once signed by Mayor Bates, was sent directly to The New Civil Rights Movement.

“Bayard Rustin was one of the lead organizers and strategists for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August of 1963, who also brought Gandhi’s nonviolent protest techniques to the American Civil Rights Movement, and helped mold Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence,” Councilmember Moore said in a statement to The New Civil Rights Movement. “Bayard Rustin has gone largely unrecognized for his role in the Civil Rights Movement because he was openly gay. It was feared that having an openly gay advisor would discredit the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.”

Councilmember Darryl Moore, who also serves as Board Chair of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the leading national black LGBT civil rights organization, wanted to take the opportunity during Bayard Rustin’s 100th Birthday to shine a light on his lifetime of accomplishments. “Bayard Rustin is best known for his role in the Civil Rights Movement, but he was also hugely involved in the labor movement, international human rights and was a stalwart of the LGBT community,” says Moore. “He really was an incredible person who has changed our world in ways that we have not properly recognized nor appreciated.”

Bayard Rustin’s life is eloquently portrayed in the award winning documentary, Brother Outsider, The Life of Bayard Rustin. There is also information at about Centennial Screenings, Readings and Events across the country.