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Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987) The Architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. Rustin was an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin was an organizer for the 1941 March on Washington Movement to push for an end to racial discrimination in employment, he organized Freedom Rides through the South, was arrested and jailed as a result; He became a leader within the AFL-CIO and promoted integration of formerly all-white unions and in the 1970s and 1980s aided refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia. Rustin was openly gay, which early in his career forced him to take a back seat to other Civil Rights leaders. In the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic, Rustin publicly advocated for gay rights.


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