Bayard Rustin was one of the key organizers of the March on Washington and was an advisor to Dr. King in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He co-organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is a HBCU alum and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. As an openly gay man, Rustin faced bias from people who called him a “pervert” and tried to discredit his work. Some Black Leaders believed Rustin’s sexual orientation would hinder achieving the goals of the movement which contributed why he did get the recognition as the face of the movement. Bayard spent two months in jail on a morals charge, after being caught with another man. He also spent two years in jail for refusing to sign up for the draft.
Bayard Rustin died in 1987 at the age of 75. We celebrate his contributions to Black History. He helped organize the first freedom rides and boycotts over public school segregation.