Bayard Rustin, who was an openly gay advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was announced as a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week. Also announced as a recipient was the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, who was also openly gay.
Bayard Rustin, the openly gay right-hand man to the legendary Dr. King, has been called the “lost prophet” of the Civil Rights Movement. The late Rustin organized demonstrations, rallied activists, and lobbied politicians to help make life better for people of color. He was a key organizer in the historic March on Washington in 1963, where Dr. King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Rustin died in 1987.
Rustin will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor available — as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington nears, notes the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbied for Rustin’s inclusion.
Like Harvey Milk and so many others, Bayard Rustin is one of those people we should be teaching our kids about during civil rights history lessons in schools. Here’s hoping this is the start of some well-deserved recognition across the board.