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Bayard Rustin

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Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was a civil rights activist.  Along with A. Philip Randolph, he organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of 1963. Rustin assisted in the founding of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942. He was a strong believer in the nonviolent tactics of Gandhi, and he counseled Martin Luther King, Jr. Among many other efforts in the causes of pacifism, civil rights and decolonization (such as in India and Africa), he organized an early "Freedom Ride"--the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, a nonviolent test of the Supreme Court's ruling banning race discrimination in interstate travel. He advised King during the Montgomery bus boycott, and was instrumental in organizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Because of his open homosexuality, much of his participation in the civil rights movement and pacifism was behind the scenes. He testified on behalf of New York state's gay rights bill and late in life considered gay rights the most important frontier of civil rights. Rustin's legacy includes the Bayard Rustin Educational Complex, Bayard Rustin High School, Bayard Rustin Library, and the Bayard Rustin Social Justice Center. 

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