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Obama to posthumous honor the late Bayard Rustin with Presidential Medal of Freedom

OMG! Unbelievably cool news!


The late Bayard Rustin, a gay veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, will be awarded the nation's highest civilian honor by President Barack Obama later this year, the White House announced Thursday.

Bayard Rustin.jpgRustin, who died in 1987, was one of several named today as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours," Obama said in a statement. "This year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation's gratitude."

Rustin was an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., helped organize the early freedom rides and played a key role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary later this month with a ceremony expected to be attended by Obama.

Later in life, Rustin became a gay-rights advocate and testified in support of antidiscrimination legislation in New York.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement that "Rustin dedicated his life to advocating for fairness and equality and overcame prejudice to help move our nation forward."

"Bayard Rustin's contributions to the American civil rights movement remain paramount to its successes to this day," Griffin said. "His role in the fight for civil rights of African-Americans is all the more admirable because he made it as a gay man, experiencing prejudice not just because of his race, but because of his sexual orientation as well."

In May, the White House announced Obama would also posthumously award the President Medal of Freedom to lesbian astronaut Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to travel to space in 1983 and died last year of pancreatic cancer.

by Anonymousreply 2508/25/2013


by Anonymousreply 108/09/2013

Well deserved.

by Anonymousreply 208/09/2013

Are the blacks going to let him have it for this with their gay rights aren't civil rights shit?

by Anonymousreply 308/09/2013

Gee, he must REALLY love us now, huh?

by Anonymousreply 408/09/2013

Not surprised this has garnered so few responses. DL's resident whiners prefer to complain about how Obama not doing enough.

by Anonymousreply 508/09/2013

Better late than never, though I wish this could have happened during his life. He did so much for America. He was a hero.

by Anonymousreply 608/09/2013

"Brother Outsider" is an amazing documentary on Rustin. Available on Netflix.

Great news of a great man!

by Anonymousreply 708/09/2013

I'm sure Shitt Rmoney would have done this had he made it to the oval office.

by Anonymousreply 808/09/2013

I'm glad to read about this.

by Anonymousreply 908/09/2013

It's great to see that Bayard Rustin is getting this recognition. I just wish Oprah wasn't on the same list.

by Anonymousreply 1008/11/2013

And gay equality is not important, R11?

by Anonymousreply 1208/11/2013

[quote]He would have worried about important things like the economy.

Beyond that, Romney would make certain that he and his friends were getting richer while taking from the poor. That would be his concern with the economy.

by Anonymousreply 1308/11/2013

Great move!

by Anonymousreply 1408/11/2013

[quote] No. He would have worried about important things like the economy.

So you're saying that Romney would have focused only on the economy and completely abandoned all other things the President is usually involved in? If you think a President can only focus on one single issue then you're a moron.

by Anonymousreply 1508/11/2013

[quote]If you think a President can only focus on one single issue then you're a moron.

moron = Republican

by Anonymousreply 1708/11/2013

By "economy," R11 means the tax cuts that would've been given to the wealthiest during an Iran war that Mitt's neo con chickenhawk advisers were jonesing for and would've gotten under a Romney presidency.

by Anonymousreply 1808/11/2013

This is wonderful news and way overdue. I'd love to see a really good movie about Bayard and his role in the Civil Rights movement.

by Anonymousreply 1908/11/2013

Hopefully this medal will result in more Americans learning about this great man.

by Anonymousreply 2008/12/2013

R3 - you need a history lesson.

There is no doubt Bayard Rustin supported Gay rights.

But his monumental contribution was to the Black Civil Rights movement. He was also a Quaker and pacifist. A strong supporter of labor.

Read John D'Emilio's book: Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

I don't know of any other way to say this - you're an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 2108/12/2013

The "official" organizers of the 1963 March on Washington were in a state of confusion only months before the march was to take place. They held their noses and pulled Bayard Rustin out of the mothballs to which he had been consigned as a proud gay man. They knew he was the only one who could pull the march together for them. Which he did. I didn't know about Obama's recognition of him. I'm glad he did this. So far, they've been willing to name one High School for him in West Chester, PA where he was from. Of course they left out all that pesky gay stuff. But when Rustin first met Dr. King at his home, King still had armed guards and guns in the house. Rustin was the heart and brains behind the non-violence movement related to Dr. King. In 1966, Rustin said: "Gay people are the new barometer for social change."

by Anonymousreply 2208/25/2013

R21 is fantastic.

by Anonymousreply 2308/25/2013

Big deal. Get back to work, sir!

by Anonymousreply 2408/25/2013

[quote]In 1966, Rustin said: "Gay people are the new barometer for social change."

Oops. He said this in 1986.

by Anonymousreply 2508/25/2013
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