In 1955, Bayard Rustin advised Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1963, he organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which King delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” Speech.
While Rustin remained active in the labor movement as the cofounder of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and served on many humanitarian missions, he mostly stayed out of the spotlight, fearing attack by the media for being homosexual. In 1986, while speaking in support of New York’s gay rights bill, he observed, “The barometer of where one is on human rights questions is no longer the black community, it’s the gay community. Because it is the community which is most easily mistreated.”
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