Sunday, December 27, 2009

Out Spotlight CVXII

Bayard Taylor Rustin a life long activist, who was the unknown hero” of the civil rights movement and the man behind Martin Luther King Jr, on the famous March on Washington. His life long activism helped advance the civil rights movement as well as LGBT rights.

Rustin was born on March 17, 1912, to Florence Rustin, one of eight children of Julia and Janifer Rustin of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Been born out of wedlock Julia and Janifer decided to raise young Bayard as their son, the youngest of the large Rustin family. His grandmother had been raised a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and even though she attended the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the denomination of her husband, she impressed on the children she raised certain Quaker principles: the equality of all human beings before God, the vital need for nonviolence, the importance of dealing with everyone with love and respect. She was also a member of the NAACP.

Rustin began his impressive political career at an early age after an education at Wilberforce University, Cheyney State College and City College of New York (never received B.A.).

Following under the influence of his grandmother he began his activist career in 1937, by training at the American Friends Service Committee and became organizer for the Youth Communist League. He quit Youth Communist League in 1941. And during that year became a colleague of A. Philip Randolph, President of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Race Relations Secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

In 1942 Rustin was the field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Colleague of Norman Thomas, a leader in the democratic socialist movement, and helped plan the Journey of Reconciliation "freedom ride" in 1947 which paved way for the freedom rides in the early 1960's. After being arrested, Rustin's experiences on a chain gang were chronicled on The New York Post which initiated an investigation that eliminated chain gangs in North Carolina. During the decade he assisted in lobbying President Truman to eliminate segregation in the military.

Beginning of the 1950's Rustin organized the Committee to Support South African Resistance (American Committee on Africa). In 1953, he was arrested in Pasadena, California; originally charged with vagrancy and lewd conduct, he eventually pleaded guilty to a single, lesser charge of "sex perversion" (as consensual sodomy was officially referred to in California at the time) for an incident in a car with two men. He served 60 days in jail. This was the first time that his homosexuality had come to public attention, yet he remained candid about his sexuality, which was still criminalized throughout the US. After his conviction, he was fired from FOR, though he became the executive secretary of the War Resisters League. The charges would follow him the rest of his career.

But in February 1956, he caught the attention of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when MLK recruited him as an assistant, colleauge and organizer for his civil rights cause. When he arrived in Montgomery to assist with the the bus boycott, MLK had not personally embraced nonviolence yet. In fact, there were guns inside King’s house, and armed guards posted at his doors. Rustin persuaded boycott leaders to adopt complete nonviolence, from his grandmother's Quaker's roots, and teaching them Gandhian nonviolent direct protest.

Working with MLK he organized the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, in 1957, and helped form the Recruitment and Training Program (R-T-P) during the 1960's.

He clashes with elected officials both black (Adam Clayton Powell) and white (Strom Thurmond) who tried to use Rustin’s sexuality as a way to discredit him. Many African-American leaders were concerned that Rustin's sexual orientation and Communist past would undermine support for the civil rights movement. U.S. Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who was a member of the SCLC's board, forced Rustin's resignation from the SCLC in 1960 by threatening to discuss Rustin's morals charge in Congress. Although Rustin was open about his sexual orientation and his conviction was a matter of public record, it had not been discussed widely outside the civil rights leadership.

When Rustin and A. Phillips Randolph organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, Senator Strom Thurmond railed against Rustin as a "Communist, draft-dodger, and homosexual" and produced an FBI photograph of Rustin talking to King while King was bathing, to imply that there was a same-sex relationship between the two. Both men denied the allegation of an affair, but, despite King's support, NAACP chairman Roy Wilkins did not want Rustin to receive any public recognition for his role in planning the march—though, in fact, he did become quite well-known.

After the March on Washington, Rustin organized the New York City School Boycott. When Rustin was invited to speak at the University of Virginia in 1964, school administrators tried to ban him, out of fear that he would organize another school boycott there. He went on to participate in anti-war demonstration during Vietnam War and helped found the A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI). Later he helped found the National Emergency Coalition for Haitian Rights, serve as Chairman of the Executive committee of Freedom House. Hi report South Africa: Is Peaceful Change Possible? in 1983 led to the formation of Project South Africa.

Apart from his career as an activist, he was also fun-loving, mischievous, artistic, gifted with a fine singing voice, and known as an art collector who sometimes found museum-quality pieces in New York City trash. The historian John D’Emilio calls Rustin the “lost prophet” of the civil rights movement.

Before his death, Rustin wrote several essays, recorded songs and received numerous honorary doctorates while continuing his involvement as an officer on numerous human rights committees until his death in 1987. He was survived by his partner of 10 years, Walter Naegle.

His biography is particularly important for LGBT Americans highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending official segregation in America. Bayard Rustin stands at the confluence of the great struggles for civil, legal and human rights by African-Americans and LGBT Americans. Even today despite all the advances made there are still divides between race,orientation and even the rick and poor his eloquent voice is still needed.

At least two high schools have been named for Rustin. Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities (formerly Humanities High School and Charles Evans Hughes High School) is located in the Chelsea section of New York City, which in January of his year,the NYC Department of Education announced that they would be closing the school by 2012 due to poor performance. The remaining school is the Bayard Rustin High School is located in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Other public building named for Rustin include the Bayard Rustin Library at the Affirmations Gay/Lesbian Community Center in Ferndale, MI and the Bayard Rustin Social Justice Center in Conway, Arkansas.

In July 2007, with the permission of the Estate of Bayard Rustin, a group of San Francisco Bay Area African American LGBT community leaders formed the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition (BRC) to promote greater participation in the electoral process, advance civil and human rights issues, and generally promote the legacy of Mr. Rustin.

A documentary of his life entitled Brother Outsider premiered at Sundance, and late became part of PBS's POV series.
“Twenty-five, thirty years ago, the barometer of human rights in the United States were black people. That is no longer true. The barometer for judging the character of people in regard to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, lesbian.” - Bayard Rustin, 1987

36 comments:

Jersey Tom said...

Nice spotlight Spesh.

Jersey Tom said...
I am so happy Spesh posted that first E You tube video. If any one doesnt believe Jake has worked on butching up the old vocal cords compare that video with the Video Game awards video. Big difference.

Elinor said...

Hello everyone,

What an interesting and serious spotlight today. A passionating man who had his part in History. I am just impressed by his courage and his will to make change things.


And really ! what delicious song special K ( totally in the mood of the spotlight subject), an other gift for us , thanks you very much. Dinah Washington was an extraordinary jazz singer like Ella, Billie and sarah... so much emotions in this song, so vintage !! Many today should take example on these great real stars!

This is it! I am beginning to be sick, too much chocolates!! My stomach is about to explode. Christmas time isn't good for me lol.

*Thud* said...

Spesh, you outdid yourself today with the song. Sam Cooke is one my favorites ever, my mom and dad used to listen. *thud* that's me fainting from the sound of Sam's voice. The music's been awesome lately. Great Spotlight again. :)

m said...

I know I should be talking about the post, but I am so blown away by the song that that's all I can think about. I forgot how good his voice was. I am also impressed that Martin Luther King did not let someone's sexuality interfere. Very open for the time period.

Special K said...

An earlier this year I did an Out Spotlight on Corretta Scott King's long time assistant Lynn Cothern who was openly gay.

Out Spotlight Lynn Cothern

I was struck about MLK have guns in the home until Bayard came to work with him and that was his influence for non-violence and the Quaker beliefs of his grandmother influencing a movement.

I love Sam Cooke, and this song is so powerful and emotional. I remember listening to it the days between the election and Obama's inaugaration.

destiny said...

I have been missing all the music this past week without my computer.

I was just reading the NYT review of Sherlock, and it goes on at length about the homoeroticism. And after talking about Law's moustache, they refer to Rachael M.as playing the beard in the movie! LOL.

Jersey Tom said...

destiny said...
I have been missing all the music this past week without my computer.

I was just reading the NYT review of Sherlock, and it goes on at length about the homoeroticism. And after talking about Law's moustache, they refer to Rachael M.as playing the beard in the movie! LOL.



It was awesome Destiny. I wouldnt call it blatant Homoerotism such as sexual tension between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson but all the hints are there. Very much Sherlock is in love with Dr. Watson and Dr. Watson is well aware. And yes Sherlock never kisses his beard.

Jersey Tom said...

This weekend will be the biggest box office sales in Hollywood history. Sherlock Holmes, Avatar, and Up In the Air are packing them in.

destiny said...

All movies I want to see.

Joker Fan said...

I want to see Sherlock too - RDJ is still a very attractive man. The poster is really attractive. I thought the clip of the female pickpocket pulling a knife on him and robbing him was cute and funny. The long coat doesn't hurt either. :)

Dr Parnassus said...

Go see The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus... the speech that Johnny Depp says about dying young will have you weeping :( I enjoyed the film though, it was fun!

Jersey Tom said...

Speaking of RDJ PoP will have tons of competition in May 2010. Sex In The City 2 and Ironman 2.

m said...

PINB mentioned he saw a 2nd trailer for POP and does not see Jake pulling it off. He does not think his accent works at all. Disney can't seem to make up its mind re the target audience. With Sex and the City and Ironman 2 as competition, the female contingent and young men are spoken for. I looked at the newer trailer too and I think they have CGI'd Jake a bit. Slimmed him down a little.

Special K said...

I think they didn't slim him down if you look at this work out pictures he looks similar to the new picture. I think they had original beefed him up on screen with CGI. The picture of Jake walking on the set with the "ex" he has not looked that big in any other picture for the movie, it seems like it was shot from a odd angle and also maybe it is sense of perspective that throws it off.

Iron Man 2 opens 3 weeks before PoP, it will have a huge opening weekend and the and hold the top for the next week even if it has a big drop, but don't think it is going to beat PoP its opening weekend.

Sex and the City is rated R compared to PoP at PG-13, which btw is Disney's first PG-13 movie. I think SATC is a little about PoP, why? Some how the girls find themselve on a getaway in the middle of the desert. ; )

box office said...

I feel like Spesh is the only OMG poster who isn't hoping for a PoP failure at the box office. Why is that? Why is everyone coming up with more excuses for a potential failure than Carter's has pills? (How's that for an ollld reference.)

m said...

I am most certainly not hoping for POP to be a failure. Just discussing what is being said out and about, and the realities of film making. I was a movie buff way before I was a Jake buff, like for the last 20 years, though I was more into directors than specific actors. There are so many elements that go into making a film successful, and any one of them can derail it. When everything works, its great. Like Brokeback Mountain. You can tell within minutes if a film got it right. Monetary success is not my ultimate definition of a what makes a film good, but POP's budget sets it apart in that it needs to make a huge $$ impact to be considered a success. Plus Jake has a lot riding on this one as he has yet to prove he can open a film. If anything, I am worried for him.

Jersey Tom said...

box office said...
I feel like Spesh is the only OMG poster who isn't hoping for a PoP failure at the box office. Why is that? Why is everyone coming up with more excuses for a potential failure than Carter's has pills? (How's that for an ollld reference.)



Guilty. PoP = reeke. Period.

sheesh said...

Guilty. PoP = reeke. Period.

How childish. Jake has kicked the beard to the curb, so get over it.

If that's the only reason you want PoP to tank, then you are a sad little man.

gamer said...

"PINB mentioned he saw a 2nd trailer for POP and does not see Jake pulling it off"

As a "movie buff" you should know that the reactions on certain gamers sites and film sites were positive towards the trailer.

Why don´t you post one of them, only the negative one of PINB who is certainly not what I would call a film expert.

high opinioned one said...

lol @ "movie buff"

Jersey Tom said...

sheesh said...
Guilty. PoP = reeke. Period.

How childish. Jake has kicked the beard to the curb, so get over it.

If that's the only reason you want PoP to tank, then you are a sad little man.



It is the only reason.

*Thud* said...

Thank you Dr. P for the info on the movie. I have no doubt it will have me weeping in parts. I love Johnny too.

I'm one who hopes the Prince of Persia will be a huge success for Jake. :)

Who knows why about Reeke - possibly it was seen as a relationship beneficial for both of them by their people - and really didn't have much to do with PoP at all. But it appears to be ovah.

silly trolls said...

Why don´t you post one of them, only the negative one of PINB who is certainly not what I would call a film expert.

Why don't YOU post them?

Yes, we know, you are here just to complain, trash JiG posters, ask them to move on and get over Jake's bearding.

*Thud* said...

“Twenty-five, thirty years ago, the barometer of human rights in the United States were black people. That is no longer true. The barometer for judging the character of people in regard to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, lesbian.” - Bayard Rustin, 1987

Thinking about yesterday's Out Spotlight and wanted to repost this beautiful statement by Bayard Rustin. ITA.

t said...

davechensky: According to "The Futurist" book, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, and Channing Tatum were all considered for Worthington's role in Avatar.
about 9 hours ago

Special K said...

I know that I have posted many positive reviews of Jake's work in Brothers and positive comments from others about his upcoming work.

sheesh said...

Yes, we know, you are here just to complain, trash JiG posters, ask them to move on and get over Jake's bearding.

What else are you going to do? Stamp your feet & baawwwww until you feel Jake has "repented" for the bearding?

You never know, Jake might hear you if you stomp loudly & often enough.

silly trolls said...

What else are you going to do?

Why do you care?

sheesh said...

Why do you care?

The last time I looked, the box at the bottom of this page says "Leave your comment".

That's what I did. Commenting =/= caring. I still assume anyone is free to comment? You don't have to agree - learn to scroll.

destiny said...

You never know, Jake might hear you if you stomp loudly & often enough.

ITA. I think if Reeke had not been such a pr disaster it would still be going on. They were listening.

I also agree with M about PoP. And like M, I am a movie buff, have friends who have written about the industry and generally know a lot about films. Also like M, I have generally followed directors, not actors.

Too early for me to say whether I will see PoP. Not a film I would normally see but for Jake, and no way of knowing what will happen the next six months.

But like Tom I do think Reeke was largely about PoP, which makes me reluctant. Jake may change, but I seriously doubt it. I think Jake and his people may think they just picked the wrong beard, and not that bearding, per se, was the problem. We know they're not creative and stuck in the 1950s, why should that change now. The party denial is evidence of that.

silly trolls said...

Commenting =/= caring.

LOL, nice try!

silly trolls said...

^sage

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
covering up for 11:58 AM said...

What else are you going to do? Stamp your feet & baawwwww until you feel Jake has "repented" for the bearding?


Nope, I'm going to take your advice, scroll right on past your comment, and continue with my assertion that Jake has been bearding for the last 5 years or more.

Okay?

Agree to dis an' all?

Jersey Tom said...

Wouldnt it be great if the new gay president of disney was the one who decided to let Jake out of his bearding contract. I agree Destiny I will be watching the next few months to see how Jake handles his new freedom but unless he comes out I wont be seeing PoP.

wasting time said...

Such nonsense for something won't happen.