Season 4: Episode 8: Bayard Rustin
Summary: Bayard Rustin was a key, behind-the-scenes leader of the black civil rights movement—a proponent of nonviolent protest, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the principal organizer of the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. And he was gay and open about it, which had everything to do with why he remained in the background and is little known today in comparison to other leaders of the civil rights movement. Read Bayard Rustin’s 1987 New York Times obituary here. It identifies his partner Walter Naegle as his “administrative assistant and adopted son.” To read Rustin’s own words, explore Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin here. Rustin’s papers reside at the Library of Congress. PBS’s award-winning POV documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin can be found here. For a biography of Rustin, check out John d’Emilio’s Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin here. Listen to this episode of the State of the Re:Union podcast to learn about Rustin’s indelible contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. PBS’s award-winning POV documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin here. Read Senator Strom Thurmond’s August 13, 1963, denunciation of Rustin in the congressional record here, starting on page 14836. The New York Times reported on Rustin’s rebuttal here. Rustin’s partner Walter Naegle was featured in a short film by Matt Wolf titled “Bayard and Me.” You can watch it here. In her interview with Rustin, Peg Byron inquires about Rustin’s recent D.C. visit with Black and White Men Together. Learn more about the group here. Watch President Obama honor Bayard Rustin at the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. Watch Walter Naegle accept the medal here. Gay astronaut Sally Ride was honored alongside Rustin that same year; find out more about Ride here. Eric Marcus’s interview with Walter Naegle was conducted at the home he shared with Rustin, which in 2016 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see the building on the website of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project here. The webpage has some great photos of Rustin, including one in his apartment with his extensive cane collection. For educator resources related to this episode of Making Gay History, check out the website of our education partner History UnErased here.