"A Man Born Before His Time"
by Vernon Robinson
Bayard Rustin was the chief strategist for Martin Luther King’s famous march on Washington, but he was also a behind-the-scenes force in various rights movements, including Civil Rights, Labor Rights and Gay Rights. A man born before his time, he was a black, gay, pacifist (WWII), radical at a time when each of those identities worked against the grain of the dominant culture. He believed in changing the status quo to have a more democratic and equal society. Rustin has not been as well-known as other historical figures, perhaps because of his sexuality and the times he lived in, but also because others in the movement considered him a liability. We’ll talk about that shortly.