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bayard rustin

Bayard Rustin
Consummate Organizer
(1912 – 1987)
United States

Between the first Chicago student sit-ins in 1942 and the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, Bayard Rustin had a hand in nearly every major nonviolent civil rights activity in the United States. In Ghana, he helped Kwame Nkrumah organize the youth division of his political party. When Rustin began to organize the March on Washington, Senator Strom Thurmond rose on the floor of the US Senate and attacked Rustin as a draft dodger, homosexual, and communist. Despite the negativity associated with these titles during his time, leaders chose Rustin to organize the march where Dr. King delivered his now famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. Increasingly, a number of buildings are being named for Rustin including the Social Justice Center in Conway, Arkansas.

panel with rustin and james
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