Legends of The Ball XIII: Bayard Rustin

A Poem for Bayard Rustin.

Bayard I wish I was there to see you in those closed meetings.

To listen to the truth speakers as they turned their forked tongues on you.

Stabbed you and crucified you just as their Jesus had been.

Was Martin truly your friend, Bayard?

Did he shield you when the others said you had no place?

When they claimed that a Gay Black Communist was too off-putting an image to champion the civil rights movement.

Bayard I wish I had your strength.

I wish I could stand upright like you and demand to be seated at the table.

Demand “I too am Black, bring me a plate!”

It must have been lonely, Bayard.

And even now one questions if it was worth it?

To truly sacrifice self for people.

For family that seeks to menace you just as the crackers do them.

Legends of the Ball XIII: Bayard Rustin

I have only begun to look into the life of Bayard Rustin but it is an inspiration to me. Bayard, who was forced into the closet by the leaders of the Civil Rights movement,  was a key figure, if not the most key, in organizing the March on Washington. He was right hand to King and he was forced to remain silent about both his Marxism and homosexuality by the leadership of the movement. My mind is still boggled by his dedication to the cause of Black liberation that he stuck through a horrific experience with the hopes that “his people” would be free one day. He also worked with A Phillip Randolph, leader of the “Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters”.

Later in life he became a staunch supporter of Gay rights going so far as to declare gays as “the new black”.

Today, blacks are no longer the litmus paper or the barometer of social change. Blacks are in every segment of society and there are laws that help to protect them from racial discrimination. The new “niggers” are gays. . . . It is in this sense that gay people are the new barometer for social change. . . . The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people

This brother seemed to be truly something else. I look forward to reading and experiencing more of him.

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