Happy birthday, Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987)! #Quaker. #Pacifist. #Socialist. Gay rights activist. Master strategist of the civil rights movement. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he was raised by his grandparents. His grandmother, Julia (David) Rustin, was a Quaker. At the age of 24, Bayard moved to Harlem, NYC, where he attended City College. He found work as a nightclub singer in Greenwich Village. He also became a member of 15th Stree…t Friends Meeting near Union Square. Spent two years (1944-1946) in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary for refusing to cooperate with Selective Service. Co-organizer (with George Houser) of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the original Freedom Riders. In 1948 Rustin traveled to India to study non-violent resistance techniques from leaders of the Gandhian movement. It was largely Rustin’s influence that persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr., to adopt non-violent tactics. Died in New York City. Cremated.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.