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California Governor Posthumously Pardons Gay African-American Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

HeadlineFeb 06, 2020

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom posthumously pardoned gay African-American civil rights leader Bayard Rustin Tuesday, who in 1953 was jailed and forced to register as a sex offender after being convicted under laws commonly used to target LGBT people. Rustin fought against segregation and homophobia and was a pacifist who protested war. He was a key adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King and introduced him to Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. He helped Dr. King start the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. Along with A. Philip Randolph, Rustin organized the historic 1963 March on Washington.

Bayard Rustin: “We demand that segregation be ended in every school district in the year 1963! We demand that we have effective civil rights legislation — no compromise, no filibuster — and that it include public accommodations, decent housing, integrated education, FEPC and the right to vote. What do you say? We demand the withholding of federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists. What do you say?”

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