February 17, 2011

>Black History Month Heroes: Bayard Rustin

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987) began his career in activism when he was just a child by protesting against segregation alongside the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Throughout his life Rustin was involved in countless boycotts, protests, and initiatives aimed at protecting the civil rights of all minority groups. He was an expert in non-violent resistance having studied in India with leaders of their independence movement and organized many demonstrations of his own. Bayard played a pivotal role in the Black Civil Rights movement as an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. Leaders of the movement asked Bayard to stay out of the public spotlight, for fear of being associated with what was at the time his “illegal” life as a gay man. Rustin continued to advocate for civil rights until his death in 1987, including LGBT rights, a cause he adopted in the later part of his life.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

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