Draft Issues and Bus Boycott Both Muhammad Ali (1966) and Rosa Parks (1955) made political stands in their life Ali- Stripped of his world heavyweight boxing title and threatened with jail time for refusing to fight in Vietnam based on religious beliefs. Parks- Her arrest after not giving up her seat to a white person led to a year long bus boycott where in the decision of Browder v. Gayle (Claudette Colvin), the local courts deemed bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama unconstitutional
Bayard Rustin Was Arrested For Both These Offenses Years Before Rustin’s 1944 letter to draft board: “I cannot voluntarily submit to an order stemming from the Selective Service Act. WAR IS WRONG!...Following the will of God I must break the law of the state. I am prepared for whatever may follow.” (27 months in prison) 1947: Arrested for sitting with a white man on a bus in South Carolina. He published his experiences in a “chain gang” is North Carolina the abolishment of that particular sort of punishment
Rustin’s Homosexuality • In Pasadena, CA (1953) Rustin was arrested on a morals charge after being caught with a man. At the time, the charge was sexual perversion • It was used as blackmail against Dr. king. If King did not disassociate himself of Rustin it would have been suggested that they had an intimate relationship. • Both his Communist past and homosexuality were detrimental at the time towards his integrity and reliability.
Achievements Before Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Joined AJ Muste and his Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) woRKED WITH a. Philip Randolph
Origins of Non-Violent Disobedience • Bayard Rustin cultivated his non-violent beliefs from both AJ Muste and A. Philip Randolph. • “We need in every community, a group of angelic trouble makers.” • “Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable. Our best weapon is our bodies and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” • He conveyed his thoughts to a 26 year old minister who had begun to organize a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama • Clip from 0-3:55
Rustin’s Past Threatens Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement Rustin was so successful at his tactics, his personal life was brought into question to discredit him. In 1938, Rustin became a member of the Communist Party in the United States, but renounced his membership in 1942. However, after WWII, anything Communist was seen as a threat to the American way of life.
1964 ELECTION (Before JFK Assassination) Democratic Candidate John f. Kennedy Republican candidate Barry goldwater
March on Washington Because of the lack of interest in Civil Rights showed by both parties at the time, Rustin and others decided to organize a march on Washington. It was here that Dr. King made his famous “I have a dream” speech
From Protest to Politics “Instead of marching on the courthouse or the restaurant or the theater, we now had to march to the ballot box.” “In protest their must never be compromise, in politics there must always be compromise” Rustin’s lack of protest against the Vietnam War made him an unpopular figure in the activist world
Criticism From Other Black Leaders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale Stokely Carmichael
Letter From ImamuAmiri Baraka to Bayard Rustin --Bayard, when you denounce us for teaching hate based on your white folks’ analysis, you are actually functioning as the big gun of white oppression… Bayard, you are a slaveship profiteer, a paid pervert for the racist unions. I feel it necessary to expose you.