Photo 23 Aug 181 notes It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes Norton was waiting for someone to say something really nasty about her boss.
She was a march volunteer. The boss was Bayard Rustin, the march’s chief organizer and the man widely viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such unprecedented scale.
And he was gay. Openly gay. That year again? 1963.
“I was sure the attacks would come because I knew what they could attack Bayard for,” says Norton, now the District’s nonvoting delegate to Congress….
The 53-year-old known at the time as “Mr. March-on-Washington” was a lanky, cane-swinging, poetry-quoting black Quaker intellectual who wore his hair in a graying pompadour. He’d had a fleeting association with a communist youth group in the 1930s and had been a Harlem nightclub singer in the 1940s (and was still given to filling corridors and meeting rooms with his high troubadour tenor). He had gone to prison as a conscientious objector during World War II — he used his time there to take up the lute — and had been jailed more than 25 other times as a protester.
And, one time, he was jailed on a “morals charge,” after being caught entangled with two other men in a parked car, which was a crime in Pasadena, Calif., in 1953.“He absolutely didn’t hide it,” Horo­witz says. “He’d never heard there was a closet.”
(via Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement - The Washington Post)

It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes Norton was waiting for someone to say something really nasty about her boss.

She was a march volunteer. The boss was Bayard Rustin, the march’s chief organizer and the man widely viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such unprecedented scale.

And he was gay. Openly gay. That year again? 1963.

“I was sure the attacks would come because I knew what they could attack Bayard for,” says Norton, now the District’s nonvoting delegate to Congress….

The 53-year-old known at the time as “Mr. March-on-Washington” was a lanky, cane-swinging, poetry-quoting black Quaker intellectual who wore his hair in a graying pompadour. He’d had a fleeting association with a communist youth group in the 1930s and had been a Harlem nightclub singer in the 1940s (and was still given to filling corridors and meeting rooms with his high troubadour tenor). He had gone to prison as a conscientious objector during World War II — he used his time there to take up the lute — and had been jailed more than 25 other times as a protester.

And, one time, he was jailed on a “morals charge,” after being caught entangled with two other men in a parked car, which was a crime in Pasadena, Calif., in 1953.

“He absolutely didn’t hide it,” Horo­witz says. “He’d never heard there was a closet.”

(via Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement - The Washington Post)

#politics #history #civil rights #March on Washington

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    HERO.
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    It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes...
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    will reblog Bayard Rustin all of the times there’s a quote from + picture of him on the outside of the local queer youth...

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