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Bayard Rustin

GLSEN LGBTQ+ History Cards - Image of Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was a Civil Rights organizer and activist, best known for his work as adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the primary organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. Throughout his life, Rustin was engaged in several pacifist groups and early civil rights protests, with a particular passion for non-violent resistance. Due to his high-level status as an organizing figure, he was arrested several times for civil disobedience, as well as for being a gay man. Despite this, he never stopped fighting for equality for Black and LGBTQ+ people. He also sought to bring both the worlds of queer resistance and racial justice together, being the first person to bring the AIDS crisis to the attention of the NAACP in 1987. That same year, Bayard Rustin passed away, just four days prior to the 24th anniversary of the March on Washington. Learn more about Bayard Rustin here.