Master strategist Bayard Rustin was Martin Luther King Jr.’s organizer for the 1963 March on Washington, but because he was gay, he has been hidden from history. Activist Stuart Wilber explains.
In 1956, Bayard Rustin was hidden in the trunk of a car and snuck out of Montgomery during the Montgomery Bus Boycott because it was feared that having an openly-gay man as an advisor would discredit the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King and the other leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
In â€Ž1983,Â Congressman Walter Fauntroy,Â one the organizers of a Washington March marking the 20th anniversary of the iconicÂ March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, (whereÂ Â Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech,)Â attempted to preventÂ representatives from gay and lesbian rights groups from speaking, thereby insulting the memory of the openly-gay Bayard Rustin, the architect of the original 1963 civil rights march.
(See below for some interesting additional history on this event.)
It’s time we bring Bayard’s legacy out of the closet and into the national spotlight.
Walter Naegle, Rustin’s partner until death, wrote,
â€œA master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the U.S. He brought Gandhiâ€™s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.
Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and ï¬red from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a ï¬ercely homophobic era.
Today, the United States is still struggling with many of the issues Bayard Rustin sought to change during his long, illustrious career. His focus on civil and economic rights and his belief in peace, human rights, and the dignity of all people remain as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 60s.
Rustinâ€™s biography is particularly important for LGBT Americans, highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending oficial segregation in America. Rustin stands at the conï¬‚uence of the great struggles for civil, legal, and human rights by African Americans and lesbian and gay Americans. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against homosexuals, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor, his eloquent voice is needed today.
In February 1956, when Bayard Rustin arrived in Montgomery to assist with the nascent bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. had not fully embraced nonviolence. In fact, there were guns inside Kingâ€™s house and armed guards posted at his doors. Rustin persuaded boycott leaders to adopt complete nonviolence, teaching them Gandhian nonviolent direct protest techniques.â€
Sunday’s Washington PostÂ profiled Bayard Rustinâ€™s role in the 1963 March:
“The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will be forever known as the day that ensured the success of the civil rights movement and launched the Rev.Â Martin Luther King Jr.Â into the highest pantheon of American champions. Next week, on the 48th anniversary of the march, King will be anointed into that ultra-selective fraternity of national leaders memorialized on the Mall.
But for hundreds of civil rights veterans, Aug. 28 will also always be Bayardâ€™s Day, the crowning achievement of one of the movementâ€™s most effective, and unconventional, activists.
â€œWhen the anniversary comes around, frankly I think of Bayard as much as I think of King,â€ says Norton. â€œKing could hardly have given the speech if the march had not been so well attended and so well organized. If there had been any kind of disturbance, that would have been the story.â€
March 17, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Bayardâ€™s birth. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Historic March. Events are being planned around the country that will emphasize Bayard Rustinâ€™s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and its national broadcasts on PBSâ€™ P.O.V. series and on Logo/MTV, the filmÂ Brother OutsiderÂ has introduced millions of viewers around the world to the life and work of Bayard Rustin. It is a must-see for any LGBTQ person interested in understanding the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The film isÂ available for purchaseÂ from its producers. It has been submitted to Netflix — but the folks at Netflix won’t make the Rustin film available via DVD or in streaming format until they are convinced that there is demand among viewers. If you are a Netflix subscriber, would you please help out byÂ adding Brother Outsider to your queue? Giving the film a rating and/or writing a review would be great, too!
If you wish to organize or participate in an event, please contact Mandy Carter or Stuart Wilber at firstname.lastname@example.org
As noted above, according to Rev. Troy Perry in the book “Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage,” in 1983, Congressman Walter Fauntroy, a Baptist pastor and one of the organizers of the Washington March marking the 20th anniversary of the iconic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, fought against any gay inclusion. Even event committee leader Coretta Scott King was not yet ready to embrace gay equality at that point, for fear it would alienate too many among black clergy. It took a sit-in and arrests in Fauntroy’s office, threats of a boycott by N.O.W. and the Quakers, and an after-midnight, nearly three-hour conference call with Mrs. King and committee members in which her husband’s own words on taking moral stands against prevailing majority opinion were used by National Coalition of Black Gays director Gil Gilberto and NG[L]TF director Ginny Apuzzo to try to get her and others to change their minds.
They succeeded, and a press conference hours later announced that gays would be included. Lesbian poet Audre Lorde was our community’s representative, speaking to the huge march crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sadly, while Mrs. King thanked Lorde for being there shortly before she spoke, and became one of our great individual champions, and gay speakers were warmly welcomed at the 30th and 40th anniversary events, the grand new coalition between the black civil rights movement and the gay rights movement that Lorde spoke so affirmatively of on that day has yet to happen over a quarter of a century later.
Fauntroy has since become even more rabidly homophobic, among other things, being one of those to fight against marriage equality in Washington, D.C. Pouring even more insult on Rustin’s legacy, if possible, Fauntroy was identified by organizers of an antigay protest in D.C. last year as having been the organizer of the 1963 march.
Excerpt from BROTHER OUTSIDER Action Guide used by permission of Question Why Films.
Photograph used by permission of Walter Naegle.
Stuart WilberÂ is aÂ Seattle activist who skipped classes in high school to watch the McCarthyâ€“ Army Hearings. Having seen it get better and worse and better again over the years, he continues to hope he will experience full federal equality in his lifetime.Â
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‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive
Amid the chaos of what top Democrats are calling the GOP House’s “civil war,” infighting that threatens to shut down the federal government in nine days, Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer has been obtaining some of then-Vice President Joe Biden‘s emails from the National Archives.
Politico reveals Chairman Comer has been able to obtain several unreacted emails, including one which relayed a tidbit of hearsay, or, “private musings,” from 2009, after an overseas trip Biden took: “multiple” women said they found the Vice President “sexy.”
The emails “include schedules with ordinary family get-togethers,” Politico adds. “One shows Biden had lunch with Hunter Biden’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan. Another reveals that the Ukrainians were praising his now-deceased brother, Beau. And then there are the private musings of multiple Georgian women saying they found Joe Biden ‘sexy’ during a 2009 trip that also included a stop in Ukraine.”
“’Must-read email below,’ read an email forwarded by Biden’s then-national security adviser Tony Blinken to Joe Biden and his sons, Hunter and Beau. The email’s subject line: ‘Biden as new Georgian sex symbol.'”
Other emails from the National Archives’ trove include a “June 14, 2016 schedule card shows Biden was to meet with the prime minister of Ukraine. The newly unredacted portions show he was also scheduled to work out with his personal trainer, and to dine with Hunter’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, in the vice president’s office.”
Politico, noting that “Republicans have yet to turn up direct evidence that Joe Biden benefited personally or that he took any official action as a result of those [Hunter Biden’s] connections, also reveals a “May, 27, 2016 schedule card includes a call with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Hunter Biden was copied on the day’s schedule. It’s already been reported that Biden was also due to attend the one-year anniversary of the passing of his son, Beau, back home in Delaware.”
“Comer had been pointing to this scheduling item, since it was also emailed to then-Vice President Biden under a pseudonym email address. Comer even said the vice president was sending a secret message to his son that he was about to fire the prosecutor. As recently as last week, Comer included that email on a list of ‘evidence’ of Joe Biden’s ‘involvement in his family’s influence peddling schemes.'”
Politico also notes that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy “and his allies insisted that opening a formal impeachment inquiry would empower them to dig deeper. Yet the emails are another example of the House GOP failing to turn up evidence they’ve assured the public exists and that will implicate Biden in some form of corruption that rises to an impeachable offense.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
Speaker Kevin McCarthy unleashed his anger against his own House Republican conference Thursday as chaos erupted after yet another procedural vote on a defense spending bill failed and the clock ticks closer to a GOP-caused shutdown of the federal government.
McCarthy “failed a crucial test Thursday of his ability to unite his fractured Republican caucus as he tries to rally support to pass a spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month,” CNBC adds.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate, and then you got all the amendments and if you don’t like the bill,” McCarthy admitted to reporters in what has increasingly become opportunities for him to trash the most far-right Republicans in the House.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” he lamented. “It doesn’t work.”
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
— After House Republicans once again failed to pass a basic procedural rule to fund the Pentagon, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hits some members of his own conference pic.twitter.com/Qt4AR71jP3
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
“This is really unheard of,” CNBC’s Emily Wilkins reported. “I mean just a rule going down as a procedural thing, that’s pretty rare as is, and for it to happen twice in one week. Last night Republicans came ut of their all hands on deck Republican meeting. A number of them sounded optimistic about moving forward.”
Thursday failed procedural vote “really did catch Speaker McCarthy by surprise,” Wilkins added.
“He said he did not realize there were not going to be the votes to move forward on this.”
The House failed to pass a procedural rules vote today, @emrwilkins
reports. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “That doesn’t work.” https://t.co/1xf6Y33riV pic.twitter.com/kK31lrHOyr
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 21, 2023
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