Bayard Rustin is perhaps the most significant activist you've never heard of. The architect of the 1963 March on Washington, Rustin was a close friend and ally to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and he was openly gay. Because of his sexuality, Rustin was denied the recognition in life he deserved, but there are those working to rectify that. Oscar-winning activist Dustin Lance Black recently announced that a project is in the works exploring the LGBT pioneer's work, and Rustin was honored at this year's Logo Trailblazer Honors, held at New York City's Cathedral of St. John the Divine last week.
Introduced by Raven Symone, Martin Luther King III ascended very same pulpit his father spoke from 59 years earlier to pay tribute to the man his father respected so much:
"Instead of living an inauthentic life that may have allowed him to get the credit he deserved, he made the decision to remain outside the spotlight, but true to himself. I can't tell you how poroud I am to be standing here tonight and paying tribute to the man who meant so much to my father."
Sadly, Rustin died in 1987, long before there was even a hint of the acceptance and equality his LGBT community was to experience. Walter Naegle, who survives Rustin, accepted the award on his late partner's behalf.