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