STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Black History Month: Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin overcame prejudice on multiple levels to become a key ally of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the most important civil rights leade...

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 9:59 AM

Bayard Rustin overcame prejudice on multiple levels to become a key ally of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the most important civil rights leaders of the 20th century.

An openly gay Black man during the Jim Crow era, Rustin was arrested for having sex with men at a time when homosexuality was widely considered a form of mental illness. He served more than two years in federal prison for refusing to fight in World War II because of his pacifist Quaker beliefs.

But it was Rustin’s connection with King that became perhaps the high-water mark of his life.

After King became nationally known for leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rustin — inspired by the teachings of Gandhi — traveled to King’s home in 1956 to convince him to adopt nonviolence as a protest tactic and a way of life. Rustin’s words were a revelation to King, who had armed bodyguards in his home.

The following year, Rustin helped King found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

King was pressured to drop Rustin from his inner circle of advisors because of his sexual orientation, but he refused to abandon him. King said no one could replace Rustin. Although Rustin sometimes had to keep a low public profile during the civil rights movement, he became more outspoken about his sexuality later in life and and has been hailed a hero by LGBQT activists.

Rustin’s crowning achievement was organizing the March on Washington, which brought more than 200,000 peaceful protesters of different races and religions to the nation’s capital in August 1963. The event, culminating in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, was a rousing success. Organizing the gathering was a staggering logistical feat, but Rustin pulled it off in less than two months.

St. Joseph
Mostly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Maryville
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 59°
Savannah
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Cameron
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Atchison
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Comfortable and mild conditions are set to continue today with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s under partly cloudy skies. Winds will be a bit breezy today with gusts up to 25 mph. A weak cold front will move through the area later this evening. Clouds will build into the area today as the front passes. A few isolated areas of light rain can’t be ruled out as the front moves through. Temperatures will remain in the 70s on Saturday under mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will really start to warm up on Sunday with highs in the upper 80s. Above average temperatures will continue through the beginning of next week as sunny and dry weather remains.
KQTV Radar
KQTV Temperatures
KQTV Alerts

Community Events