Bayard Rustin


Tribune News Service

PLAN IT. Bayard Rustin was the central organizer of the March on Washington, which he only had two months to put it all together. Around 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, the event was for jobs and freedom.

A leading figure in social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement, nonviolence, and gay rights, Bayard Rustin was a trailblazing strategist for various movements. During WWII he worked to end racial discrimination in war-related occupations while advocating for nonviolence.
Refusing to register for the draft, he was jailed, which happened several times due to civil disobedience. He was once arrested for being openly gay.
Rustin worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to organize nonviolent protests, even helping with the boycott in Montgomery, Alabama against buses. He was also the organizer of the March on Washington in August 1963, which was when King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
He was the one who taught King about nonviolent philosophy. Rustin was a part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Congress for Racial Equality, and the March on Washington movement.
Rustin wrote “Strategies for Freedom: The Changing Patterns of Black Protest” and with some co-authors the “Voices of Christ: Reflections on Applied Christianity.” He died in 1987 at 75.
“To remain human and to fulfill my commitment to a just society, I must continue to fight for the liberation of all men. There will be times when each of us will have doubts. But I trust that neither of us will desert our great cause,” Rustin said according to “HuffPost.”