Equality Pennsylvania Celebrates Legacy of Bayard Rustin: March 11

Pennsylvania-born Bayard Rustin

Equality Pennsylvania celebrates the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin, whose 100th birthday would have been March 17, 2012. Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights. He was also a Pennsylvanian.

EVENT DETAILS: “I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters” Sunday, March 11, 5 p.m., The Midtown Scholar, 1302 North Third St., Harrisburg, PA 17102. Michael Long reads from and discusses his new book. “I Must Resist…” includes previously unpublished letters to Rev. Martin Luther King, Pres. John F. Kennedy, as well as FBI memoranda about Rustin.

Info: 717-236-1680 or visit http://www.midtownscholar.com

Rustin History
A West Chester native, Rustin was active in the state and across the nation in the struggle for human rights and economic justice for over 50 years. His extensive background in the theory, strategies, and tactics of nonviolent action proved invaluable in his close association with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is credited as the architect of the 1963 March on Washington, and many other logistical feats that supported the Civil Rights Movement.

Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.

Rustin’s biography is particularly important for LGBT Americans, highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending official segregation in America. Rustin stands at the confluence of the great struggles for civil, legal and human rights by African-Americans and lesbian and gay Americans. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against homosexuals, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor, his eloquent voice is needed today.

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