Bayard Rustin, the openly gay activist and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., would have turned 100 this year. To mark Rustin’s centennial, Atlanta’s Stonewall Month features a three-part discussion of his legacy.

“Lessons Learned: Then and Now” is based on the new book “I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters.” The discussion series is set for June 5, 12 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More.

“Bayard Rustin has been referred to as the ‘lost prophet’ of the civil rights movement. A master strategist, he is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests held in the U.S.,” said Lorraine Fontana, lead organizer of the lecture series, in a press release. “He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and had major influence upon Martin Luther King, Jr.’s growth and leadership.”

Stonewall: Gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin remembered in ‘Lessons Learned’ readings


Bayard Rustin: ‘Lessons Learned’
June 12 & 19, 7:30 p.m.
Charis Books & More
1189 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307

The June 5 discussion was led by Josh Noblitt, social justice minister at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, and focused on Rustin’s Quaker, pacifist and spiritual background.

The June 12 installment will be led by Holiday Simmons, national community educator for Lambda Legal, and will focus on his sexual orientation and how it impacted his life and activism.

The third and final discussion, set for July 19, features Jamila Mindingall, founder of Collective Deliberation, and Jillian C Ford, assistant professor of social studies education at Kennesaw State University. It will examine Rustin’s broad, intersectional social justice and direct action work, and what models that might provide for the present.

The series is co-sponsored by Atlanta Pride and the social justice guild of First Existentialist Church, in partnership with the State of Black Gay America Summit, the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Social Justice Breakfast planning committee; Evolution Center, Zami NOBLA, SAGE Atlanta, Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and Feminist Outlawz.