Black History Month Profiles: Bayard Rustin, Civil Rights Organizer

During Black History Month, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc is honoring a series of Black innovators and history makers such as Bayard Rustin who are often overlooked in mainstream media coverage and history books. Check back throughout February to learn more about important figures.


Born: March 17, 1912, West Chester, PA
Died: Aug. 24, 1987
Best known for: his work organizing a number of protests throughout the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, including the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

It was Bayard Rustin’s organizing that made many of the most impactful moments of the Civil Rights Movement possible. In 1963 after the historic March on Washington, Rustin appeared on the cover of Life magazine for his efforts in organizing the demonstration. But because Rustin was openly gay and formerly tied to the Communist Party, he was controversial, even to other organizers within the movement.

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