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Bayard Rustin

Rustin's Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

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 was a very important figure in the Civil Rights Movement; here you will find out how.

Bayard Rustin was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement. He worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and A. Phillip Randolph in helping to organize the Civil Rights movement in general.

Rustin helped to organize many great events in the civil rights movement. For example, he helped Martin Luther King to organize the SCLC in 1956. He also organized a march at the nation's capitol in 1960, to which 250 thousand people attended.

Furthermore, he made significant contributions to organizing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, to which 200 thousand people attended, and during which Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" Speech. In fact, Rustin was responsible for the orderliness present at the historic event. Organizing such an event is no easy task, as 200 thousand people, being inspired, could have easily caused havoc.


Besides all of this, Rustin also organized the "Journey of reconciliation" in 1947, which involved a group of racially diverse people travelling on buses in the south, in order to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared that segregation in interstate travel was unconstitutional. This event influenced the Freedom Rides in the 1960s. However, on this bus ride, Rustin and the people who had joined him were beaten, and eventually arrested; Rustin served 22 days on a chain gang for organizing this bus ride.

Because Rustin was homosexual, he was often criticised, and thus, for the most part, did behind-the-scenes work in the Civil Rights movement, such as organizing of protests -something which he discovered he was quite skilled at.

In 1964, Rustin helped to organize a school boycott in New York City; hundreds of thousands of kids stayed out of school. This boycott was made to protest the sluggish pace of integration in schools.

~The life and achievements of Bayard Rustin~