Born today 88 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr, was destined to make history in the United States, emerging as one of the formative leaders of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Little known is the man behind King in the photo above, Bayard Rustin.
After the Supreme Court’s 1946 decision making it illegal to segregate interstate buses, he organized a Freedom Ride. During that ride he was illegally arrested, imprisoned and put on a Chain Gang for 22 days in North Carolina. Based on that experience he authored “Twenty-two Days on a Chain Gang,” a 5-part series published in the New York Post. As a result, North Carolina abolished chain gangs.
Rustin traveled to India in 1948 just after Ghandi’s assassination and it was he who brought the Indian’s philosophy and methods of non-violence to King.
Rustin was the primary organizer and trailblazing strategist of the famous 1963 March on Washington.
My favorite Bayard Rustin quote, “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.”
Bayard Rustin was one of America’s angels, and on this day celebrating King in America, I honor Rustin for his contributions to our nation.
Who will you honor this week, and how will you do that?