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Morehouse students create Bayard Rustin scholars program to remember gay civil rights activist

Students from Morehouse College have formed a Bayard Rustin scholars program at the all-male college which will introduce a new chapter of social justice at the school, according to a story in the student newspaper the Maroon Tiger.

“The program is named after him because the motto of program is modeled after his theory and methods,” said sophomore Marcus Lee, one of three students to introduce the program. “[The scholars] will be learning how to community organize and learning how tackle more issues at once.”

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

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.”

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Remembering Bayard Rustin: The Centennial of a Remarkable Life

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If you are like most people in the U.S. you probably do not know who Bayard Rustin was, nor how profoundly he influenced the civil rights movement. The same histories that erased his contributions exaggerated Martin Luther King Jr.'s role as the architect of Montgomery bus boycott and recast Rosa Parks as an otherwise unremarkable lady whose fabled act of defiance was prompted by weary feet.

Rustin no less than any other agent of his era, including King himself, was indispensable to the greatest successes of the movement and the development of its earlier, more vulnerable stages.

During the forties, he participated in direct actions that prefigured the signature efforts that would define the movements' peak. As a protégé of preeminent labor leader A. Phillip Randolph, he helped plan a march on Washington, D.C. (which Randolph called off) on protesting segregation in the armed forces.

In 1946, he participated in a campaign of interracial freedom rides in the South and subsequently worked on pacifist coalitions in India, Ghana and Nigeria. From 1956 until King's death, Rustin served as one of King's most trusted advisors. Randolph sent his star protégé' south to advise the Montgomery bus boycott organizing. Rustin taught King to adopt Mohatmas Gandhi's philosophy, convincing the fledgling leader that having his men armed with guns was incompatible with non-violent principles.

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[Photos] Atlanta commemorates MLK Day

11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

The 11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast was held Jan. 16, 2012, at St. Mark United Methodist Church as part of the official Martin Luther King Jr. march's events. More than 250 people attended the breakfast with the theme "Setting Our Agenda for Justice" and included food as well as discussion surrounding such issues as reproductive rights, gender equality, HIV stigma and economic disparity.

Founded by Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, the breakfast is a way for black LGBT people "to take the lead in bringing all groups to remember the contributions of lesbian poet activist Audre Lorde and civil rights activist and aide to Dr. King, Bayard Rustin," says Hudson. (Photos by Dyana Bagby)