Any time, and particularly as we approach the National Equality March this weekend, it is enlightening and emboldening to see the video of the life story of the consummate hero, organizer, and activist for the African American civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin.
It was Bayard Rustin who taught Martin Luther King the essence and techniques of non-violence, and it was he who organized the 1963 March on Washington which was a protest against the horrific oppression and discrimination visited upon African Americans in the U.S.
Unfortunately, as a gay man, he was relegated to the background, and even Martin Luther King accepted his resignation when Adam Clayton Powell threatened to out Rustin and falsely state that he and King were having an affair and, thereby, threaten the credibility of the civil rights movement.
To Rustin's shock, MLK accepted his resignation, and it was A. Philip Randolph, a prominent and well respected civil rights leader, who brought Rustin back into the fold.
The heroism of Rustin can't be over-estimated! If any one person can be credited with the organizational, tactical, and strategic success of many of the key aspects of the African American civil rights movement, it is Bayard Rustin, and I strongly urge you to watch the following videos detailing his life and work, entitled Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.
At a time when LGBT people are routinely defamed, and are still viewed and treated as second-class citizens, and are deprived of most of the fundamental rights that accrue to heterosexuals, the story and legacy of Bayard Rustin is a breath of fresh air amidst the bearing of false witness against LGBT people by most of the institutional Church (just as occurred against African Americans prior to the success of the African American civil rights movement), and by many gullible people in secular society who falsely believe the lies and distortions emanating from the mouths of ignorant and/or mendacious clergy and their followers!
The National Equality March promises to be a major step in galvanizing both anger and meaningful activism at both the grassroots and organizational levels and, of course, I hope that promise bears fruit.
Please click on this link to see Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.