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By Jerald Podair

Bayard Rustin used to be a distinct 20th-century American radical voice. A gay, global struggle II draft resister, and ex-communist, Rustin made huge, immense contributions to the civil rights, socialist, exertions, peace, and homosexual rights pursuits within the usa, regardless of being seen as an intruder through fellow activists. writer Jerold Podair additionally contains excerpts from Rustin's writings, speeches, letters, and statements, permitting the reader to achieve firsthand interplay with essentially the most vital civil rights leaders?and the most vital radical leaders?in 20th-century American heritage.

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Extra info for Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer (The African American History Series)

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Both leaders seemed receptive at this relatively early stage of the West African anticolonialist struggle, but subsequent events would prove disappointing. Gandhi had always feared the corrosive effects of ethnic and religious divisions in India. With the forced partition of the country into Hindu and Muslim nations immediately after independence in 1947, his apprehensions were borne out. Rustin shared Gandhi’s fear of chauvinism overpowering the shared humanity of those who employed nonviolence to effect social and political change.

It was losing money and members, and its continued existence was in question. Clearly the WRL required someone with Rustin’s abilities. In the fall of 1953, over the objections of Muste, who sat on the WRL’s executive committee, the organization took him on as program director. In 1954 he was promoted to executive secretary. The WRL served as his base of operations until the mid1960s. Although its atmosphere was not quite as close-knit as the familial FOR—there were no father figures here—the WRL gave Rustin a home once again.

Rustin’s allegiance to pacifism was growing during these years to embrace a moral absolutism that made him willing to accept prison rather than submit to a government that sponsored war, even a war to defeat Nazism. At the same time, he was becoming increasingly active in civil rights causes. Through the CPUSA, he had become active in the Committee Against Discrimination in the Armed Forces, which worked to integrate the racially segregated American military. In addition, Rustin confronted the issue of employment bias in New York’s black neighborhoods.

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