An Indispensable Gay Man

His 1963 March on Washington 'Woke Up America'

Three weeks before the March on Washington, Strom Thurmond denounced Bayard on the Senate floor as a homosexual, draft evader, and former member of the Communist Party. It didn't work. The march, Eleanor Holmes Norton emphasizes, "woke up America. It woke up the president [John F. Kennedy]. . . . It took the movement to a new level, and somehow, I knew it would take us to where I could not see."

The night before the march, Malcolm X, with whom I had become friendly, shouted to me across the lobby of a Washington hotel, where he was surrounded by reporters. "Hey, Nat Hentoff," he scoffed. "I bet you think you're here for a real historic event! You've been fooled, like everybody else." But I knew Bayard, and I knew Malcolm was wrong. To be continued.

Bayard Rustin (right): a lifelong freedom fighter
photo: Associated Press/Courtesy P.O.V.
Bayard Rustin (right): a lifelong freedom fighter

Note: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Yaser Hamdi can be jailed indefinitely without access to his lawyer. On to the Supreme Court.

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