According to the Chicago History Museum, Bayard Rustin (1912-87) was instrumental in bringing Gandhi's protest techniques from India to America in the 1940s, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and an organizer of the seminal 1963 March on Washington. Despite his achievements, Rustin was expunged from history—largely because he dared to be an openly gay man during a fiercely homophobic era.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that celebrates the life and legacy of a man who advanced hope and justice in America. Last year I blogged about the legacy of his wife, Coretta Scott King who was a champion for LGBT equality. She famously said, "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions." This year I want to share the story of Bayard Rustin, a gay man who was a key leader in the civil rights movement.