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Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin's Childhood

Bayard Rustin's Childhood
The Civil Rights Movement: A Background
Rustin's Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
Bayard Rustin's Other Major Contributions

Bayard Rustin's childhood may very well have been one of the most important times in his life, for this time in his life strongly influenced who he would later become.

Bayard Rustin was born in the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania, on March 17, 1912, and was raised by his grandparents, Janifer and Julia Davis Rustin. His grandmother was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, meaning that leaders of this organiation, such as W.E.B. DuBois, would often visit his home. These visits were most likely a powerful influence in his life. During his childhood, Rustin excelled in both academics and sports. His first encounter with racism occurred when he was playing at a football game out of town, and was refused service in a restaurant. This event, perhaps, helped him to form a political career later on in his life, in which he would help end inequality due to race.


He continued his education at Wilberforce University, and Cheyney State College, among others. His career as an activist began in 1937, when he moved to New York City to attend City College in New York. Rustin soon became involved in the Communist Party, becoming involved with the Young Communist League. While involved in this organization, he made efforts to end racial segregation, and protested against the upcoming war. He ceased to be involved with the Communist party in 1941, due to the fact that it was changing its focuses because of World War II.

However, during his involvement in the Communist party, Rustin learned that he had an incredible skill for "organizing and attending to details." This would allow him to pursue his next major career path, which was to help fight against segregation and racism in America and around the world.

~The life and achievements of Bayard Rustin~