Bayard Rustin: Non-Violent Warrior for Justice/ Pacifist Champion for Diversity

Bayard Rustin photo

In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

To celebrate Diversity Week, Margaret Chisholm (Lecturer, Yale Law School) will be speaking on the topic of Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) on Friday, February 28, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm in Room 1003, Osgoode Hall Law School. Lunch will be provided.

Many historians now believe that Rustin, an openly gay African-American man, was the strategist for the modern, non-violent, U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Rustin (a teacher, theoretician, and practitioner of Civil Disobedience and Non-violence) traced his influences to Henry David Thoreau, Quakerism, Gandhi, and the militant suffragists. In his decades-long commitment to civil rights, he visited Japanese American internment camps; organized the first Freedom Ride (1947); and trained Martin Luther King in Gandhian strategies and tactics. In awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously, to Rustin in November 2013, Barack Obama stated, “Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and most importantly a faith that if the cause is just and the people are organized then nothing can stand in your way”.

Watch a video on Rustin here:

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