Pacifist and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin died on this date, August 24, in 1987 in Washington, D.C.
Bayard Rustin was more than a footnote in King’s “Dream” speech
by Elmer Smith
THE FEW historic footnotes devoted to the late Bayard Rustin credit him with organizing the 1963 March on Washington in just two months. As incredible as that feat may seem, to mention it in passing is like pausing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the way to dedicate a massive monument to some revered general: Here lies Bayard Rustin, who built the platform where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. It is, at best, begrudging acknowledgment of a man whose lifelong devotion to the fight for human rights is often overlooked and underappreciated. To call him a gifted organizer is to dismiss him as an operative. He was, in fact, one of the key figures in the struggle that forced America to confront its inherent injustice. [Continue reading article.]