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Pride Profile: Bayard Rustin, Civil Rights and LGBT Activist

(1912 – 1987)

Called the “lost prophet” of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin was often pushed to the back or left in the shadows because of his open homosexuality. 

In 1956 he mentored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to fully embrace the ideas, principles, and practices of nonviolent protest; and was one of the chief organizers of the historic “March on Washington” in 1963.  While many black leaders downplayed and hid his contributions to its success because of his sexuality, Rustin was pictured on the cover of “Life” magazine a week later.

His tireless efforts, both in America and abroad, for civil rights, economic opportunity, and LGBT equality, earned Rustin numerous awards and distinctions, including a posthumous Medal of Freedom in 2013 from President Obama who stated, “As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.”

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”  —  —— Bayard Rustin

Learn more HERE


On “Juneteenth,” the oldest known celebration commemorating the complete end of slavery in the United States, theOUTfront pays respect to all those who have fought for civil rights in pursuit of fulfilling America’s promise of liberty and justice for all.

Learn more about Juneteenth HERE


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