In ‘63 Life Magazine ran a feature article on A. Philip Randolph and Rustin about the March on Washington (8/28/63) which they organized. King and others were worried about Rustin, who was gay, being in the spotlight because he was too much of a “vulnerability.” The “Big Six” chose to make A. Philip Randolph the director of the march. Randolph in turn accepted only on the grounds that he could determine his own staff and made Rustin his deputy. John Lewis said of Rustin during this time, “This is going to be a massively complex undertaking, and there was no one more able to pull it together than Bayard Rustin.” (Time on Two Crosses, XXIX). In reading more about Rustin’s life, I am intrigued by the ways he as a Quaker maneuvered both a racist and homophobic society, while remaining very politically active.
Published by Wess Daniels
Teacher, author, Quaker, and public theologian. Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College. View more posts