Rustin was a teacher and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and organized the March on Washington, making him a crucial figure of the civil rights movement. But because Rustin was openly gay, he was an outcast and eventually rejected by King’s inner circle.

The program was created over the summer by Kenneth Pass and Dean Maurice Washington with a curriculum and the idea of not only teaching Rustin’s values but also making the men of Morehouse aware of who Rustin was, according to the Maroon Tiger.

“The campus will most likely be surprised once exposed to [Rustin], but hopefully the shock will be followed by appreciation and they will give him the recognition he deserves,” Lee said.  “I hope they have a appreciation of who he is or who he was, and regard him just like they do Martin Luther King Jr.”

Morehouse, an all-male historically black university in Atlanta, does have a group for gay students and holds an annual Pride event with its sister university, Spelman College. The students wanted to ensure LGBT students were recognized and embraced by their college after a dress code was issued that some considered “transpohobic.”

In April, the Morehouse School of Medicine was the host for the White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDS.

In June as part of Stonewall month events, a series of discussion events surrounding Rustin’s legacy were held at Charis Books & More.

And each year in January, people gather for the annual Bayard Rustin/ Audre Lorde breakfast to celebrate the lives of the two black gay activists before marching in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade.


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