Countdown to the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington

18 Days to go!

The Deputy Director of the March was Bayard Rustin a talented organizer with a diverse background of activism for economic justice, peace efforts and human rights. Born in 1912, he was raised as a Quaker in West Chester, Pennsylvania and had an early exposure to the work of the NAACP. bayardrustin

Rustin attended Wilberforce and Cheyney State Teacher’s College (both Historically Black Colleges) and later City College of New York but never obtained an academic degree.  He was an organizer for the Young Communist League in the late 30’s, a staunch ally of labor, worked with A. Philip Randolph on hiring inequities for Black Americans during World War II and was later jailed when he refused to register for the draft..  Rustin was also openly gay.

Rustin, a student of Gandhi’s tactics of non-violent resistance became Martin Luther King Jr.’s advisor and ally in 1956 during the Montgomery Bus Boycott developing strategies of civil disobedience for the burgeoning civil rights movement. Continue reading

The 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington


 

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In 1963 A. Philip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Vice President of the AFL-CIO and Bayard Rustin, Organizer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined forces to organize a civil rights march for jobs and freedom in Washington, DC.

Without benefit of the internet, cell phones or the 24-hour news cycle, Bayard, the chief strategist behind the march, pulled off the largest mass demonstration in American history on August 28, 1963.

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