Saturday, March 17, 2012

Learn This Name: BAYARD RUSTIN

I have a simple request for you today.
How about today, instead of celebrating a holiday that has degenerated into nothing more than a venue to further the stereotype of my kin as violent homophobic drunkards, we remember that today -- 3/17/2012 -- marks what would have been the ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY of a man named BAYARD RUSTIN.
Bayard who?
I challenge everyone who sees this text to enrich your understanding of American history by reading up on this hero whose name has been largely redacted from the narrative of the Civil Rights Era for one reason: HE WAS GAY. This American hero created the framework for the 1963 March on Washington. This man led a freedom-ride through the South MORE THAN TEN YEARS BEFORE THE ONES WE LEARNED ABOUT IN SCHOOL. This man was the first civil rights leader to recognize the world-changing potential in the oratory voice of a young hot-headed preacher from the deep South.

We owe Bayard Rustin a bigger debt than most of us realize.
Let us hope that starting today, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we lift up his name to the heights of names such as Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi, Malcolm X, etc. Let us lift our voices in remembrance of all who build the Beloved Community -- not just the ones we learned about in school.
God bless ALL of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment