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Author Topic: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin  (Read 883 times)

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Offline Jody

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Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:03:03 PM »
I had the privilege of going with some buddies to see a movie last night about the life of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights organizer and a great human being.  It was shown at the aptly named Renaissance School in Jackson Heights, Queens NYC and the film director and Bayard's life partner were there to speak afterwards and take questions.

Bayard Rustin was born in 1912 in West Chester, PA., just outside Philadelphia.  He was an out gay man since being a teenager and was a fine athlete with a beautiful singing voice.  He later came to New York where he found that the Communist party was more in tune with civil rights for all than the traditional American political parties.  He was a staunch lifelong pacifist who spoke out against violence and war for any reason.  He sent a letter to the draft board detailing his resistance to being drafted. 

Later in life he had the unfortunate experience of being caught in the back of a car with two men in California.  He was arrested and forever labeled a sexual deviant as well as a commie of course by the conservatives of his time, who still resisted change for the better.  So when the ball got rolling for civil rights marches culminating in the famous 1963 "I've Got a Dream" speech in Washington by Martin Luther King, Bayard was relegated to being mostly behind the scenes.  But make no mistake, this man was a huge part of bringing equality to all in this nation and a huge part of the civil rights movement. The fact that he was gay not only saw him sadly marginalized by the leadership of the civil rights movement but his historical role was largely expunged by the media and others. 

But Bayard Rustin was a true American hero, a man who found happiness everywhere and was never outwardly bitter, a kind and lovely gentleman in every sense of the word and I hope he will get his just due.  He traveled the world, helping Cambodian refugees, Soviet Jews and many other people in need who faced difficult lives simply for who they were.

As an addendum, City council person Daniel Dromm was at the showing and he is attempting to have LGBT American history become part of the curriculum in New York City schools as a way of showing that good folks who just happen to be gay are also here to enrich the lives of all good people.  People like Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk, Stephen Sondheim, Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King, Dr. Renee Richards and countless other gay men and women are proof to young people who might be finding that they are gay for the first time that they can be happy and successful.

Jody
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 02:06:41 PM by Jody »
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

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Offline OneTampa

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Re: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 09:10:50 PM »
Bayard Rustin was certainly integral to the equal rights struggle.

Earlier this month, I posted about Mr. Rustin's partner wanting to preserve his legacy:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=41507.msg519369#msg519369
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaŪto frito."

Offline Jody

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Re: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 10:09:26 PM »
Sorry I missed your topic One Tampa.  Mr. Rustin certainly was heroic in his life and I was glad to have learned about him and from him after his death.

Jody
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline Cliff

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Re: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 04:05:11 PM »
Thanks Jody.

Offline Ann

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Re: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 07:29:23 AM »
Thanks Jody and Tampa. I've never heard of this wonderful human being before ("his historical role was largely expunged by the media and others.") so thank you for bringing him to my attention so I can learn about him - and learn from him. Thank you both!
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Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Black History Month celebration of the life of Bayard Rustin
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 08:00:56 AM »
I was watching something last year and encountered Rustin's name, then went and did some research on him on line. I had not heard of him previously either, but he's from outside Philly so maybe it was something locally I read. It was about how he was an influence on younger types like Stokely Carmichael.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

 


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