Unsung Hero: The Legacy of Bayard Rustin
Saturday, May 7, 2016
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Unsung Hero: The Legacy of Bayard Rustin as an Introduction to an Analysis of the Intersectionality of Race, Gender, Sexuality, Class and Religion
Saturday, May 7, 2016
10:00AM to 5:00PM
Hunter School of Social Work
119th Street and Third Avenue
SCAN New York’s GLASS (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Supporters) program, [in partnership with Hunter School of Social Work, the Human Service Consortium of East Harlem, United Neighborhood Houses (co-sponsor affiliates in formation)], will be sponsoring a ONE DAY Conference to initially focus upon the history and legacy of Bayard Rustin, as a point of entry for an intergenerational dialogue on the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, class and religion. Joining us for this critical dialogue will be Walter Naegle, Bayard Rustin’s life partner. Participating with Mr. Naegel will be 1960’s civil rights activists, and, LGBTQ elder-activists, alongside contemporary Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ youth advocates.
Bayard Rustin is acknowledged by historians as one of the two or three pivotal civil rights leaders of the 1960’s. “For decades, this great leader, often at Dr. King’s side, was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay…” (Barack Obama). As an African American, openly gay male, Rustin was regarded as a ‘distraction’ to the 1960’s Civil Rights leadership. More damning, his legacy remains marginalized even today. Despite the recent proliferation of 50th Civil Rights celebrations, Bayard Rustin’s legacy remains in the shadows. The 50th Celebration of the March on Washington, a singular moment of Bayard’s powerful presence (Bayard is widely recognized as the architect of this pivotal Civil Rights moment) found Bayard’s vital role alarmingly marginalized.
Today, we once again sadly find the queer identities of civil rights organizers rendered invisible in the fight for black liberation. This conference will struggle to understand the ‘why’ of such invisibleness and marginalization, as well as, to identify avenues to overcome said marginalization and invisibility.
To achieve the above, our ‘Bayard Rustin Legacy’ conference will include a history of LGBTQ identities in civil rights movements, as well as, a series of intergenerational discussions on contemporary Civil Rights movements from an intersectional lens.
Below you will find a skeletal outline of our ‘Unsung Hero Conference’
• Historical Exploration of Bayard Rustin’s powerful narrative, and, why in the words of Henry Louis Gates, “If you teach your children one new name from the heroes of black history, please let it be Bayard Rustin”
• Panel involving 1960’s Civil Rights and LGBTQ activists, and, contemporary Civil Rights/LGBTQ organizers, examining evolution of organizing over the past 50 years, with a specific lens on homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, white supremacy, capitalism and technology
• Intergenerational break-out groups to bring together elders and youth in a collective effort to advance queer/black liberation and social justice
more to follow …..
This conference will seek to be a space for love…healing…creativity…and…a collective coming together in the spirit and vision of Bayard Rustin.
To Register for the conference contact Syd Leroy at [email protected]