Naegle said his sexuality was still emerging when he met Rustin, noting his coming-out experience was relatively easy compared to others of that time.
He had a wonderful shock of white hair, I guess he was of my parent’s generation, but we looked at each other and lightning struck. My parents didn’t make a big deal out of it.”. In 1964 Bayard Rustin helped found the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), named for his mentor. Rustin, the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, had always been openly gay in his private and professional spheres, but it would be several years before his public image came to reflect the full reality of the renaissance man. Could you and Bayard be open about your relationship? We have created a browser extension. Many had to leave the homes they had lived in with their partners for years, even decades, when their partner died because they had no legal right to stay there. In 2003, the fund released, “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” a documentary on Rustin’s life and activism. Years after the death of his partner, Nagle has remained the keeper of his flame, working to ensure that Rustin’s memory is properly preserved. He moved in with Rustin who resided in the Mutual Redevelopment Houses (Penn South). “I took, what I considered, my first real boyfriend home in the early 1970s. After attending the University of Bridgeport (CT) for one year, he left to join VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), and worked for a year in the Hilliard Houses Senior Center (Chicago, IL) an agency of Hull House Association. Walter Naegle, 65, spoke with his niece Ericka Naegle, 33, about falling in love with civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. Between organizing protests and ceaselessly fighting for the advancement of human rights, Rustin collected European religious art, pieces from his travels in Africa, and items bought and donated from refugee camps he had visited as a humanitarian. Also his intelligence and determination not to give in to despair, but to continue to fight for his beliefs. At home, he helped organize the Committee to Support South African Resistance in 1951, which later became the American Committee on Africa.As a gay man, relatively open for his time, Bayard Rustin experienced anti-gay prejudice in addition to racial discrimination. Rustin began his work with civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an organizer and strategist in the 1950s.
By Walter Naegle [Walter Naegle was Bayard Rustin’s partner from 1977 until Rustin’s death in 1987; he is executor and archivist of the Bayard Rustin Estate.] On November 20, 2013, Naegle accepted the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in honor of Rustin's work of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Bayard Rustin, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and one of the architects of the black civil rights movement, spent about two months in jail after he was arrested for having sex with men. “At the same time I understood that it was the policy at the time. “By the time I met him, it was past the peak years of the civil-rights period so I wouldn’t say I had a lot of fears,” he said. I noticed that he was very tall, well dressed and a handsome older gentleman,” he said. Walter Naegle, a Fordham alumnus, was the long-term partner of Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader who served as chief strategist of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and mentored Dr. King in practical non-violence. Local Leaders Discuss the Stakes of the 2020 Election In short, to understand the richness of background that enabled him to organize not only the March on Washington, but many other demonstrations (large and small) to help democratize our country. Bayard Rustin Film Project. Things have changed. Following the example of Gandhi, whose methods he studied during visits to India, he was frequently arrested for protesting Britain’s colonial rule in Africa. A Closer Look at Bayard Rustin, by Walter Naegle. He was graduated summa cum laude in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in Studio Art.
“We lived in New York City, which is not the same as small-town America. Walter Naegle (born 1949) was the partner of the American Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin and is executive director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which educates others on Rustin's life, values, and legacy. Why did you and Bayard decide that he should adopt you?
Born on March 17, 1912, Bayard was raised in West Chester, Pa., in a family that was heavily involved in activism.
He was arrested for “sex perversion” in 1953 and jailed for 60 days and was also jailed from 1944-46 after he refused to serve in World War II, an illustration of his non-violent Quaker faith.
His visits to Southeast Asia helped to bring the plight of the Vietnamese “boat people” to the attention of the American public. Bayard Rustin (left) and Walter Naegle (right) Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle were partners in the 1970s until Bayard's death in 1987. Thought by many to be the high point of the Civil Rights movement, the March on Washington served as the platform for Dr. Kings historic “I Have a Dream” speech and helped secure pending civil rights legislation. He began to work with A. Philip Randolph, president of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the premier black trade union. During the mid-1960s he participated in the formation of the Recruitment and Training Program (R-T-P, Inc.), which successfully increased minority participation in the building and construction trades.Mr. Rustin organized the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957, The National Youth Marches for Integrated Schools in 1958 and 1959, and was the Deputy Director and chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which, at that time, was the largest demonstration in the nation’s history. The Institute has 200 local affiliates involved in voter registration drives and programs designed to strengthen relations between the black community and the labor movement.A longtime supporter of workers’ rights, Mr. Rustin participated in many strikes and was a staunch ally to organized labor. Those things combined to make a self-actualizing person who could organize and mobilize people into action for good. I guess he was of my parents' generation, but we looked at each other and lightning struck.
In 1982, he also helped found the National Emergency Coalition for Haitian Refugees.As Chairman of the Executive Committee of Freedom House, an agency which monitors international freedom and human rights, Mr. Rustin observed elections in Zimbabwe, El Salvador, and Grenada. Enjoy reading our October 2020 digital issue, An LGBTQ Voter's Resource. That's it. Bayard did adopt me legally. “There were people in New York that knew we were a couple but the average person wouldn’t make that assumption. Our options as far as shared property, tax laws, hospital visitation, parental rights, inheritance, were all very limited. That is something he carried with him throughout his life.”. Just as gay marriage has passed in New York State and other locales, the public’s growth towards greater fairness has paralleled the realization that Rustin’s work can no longer be ignored. During high school in the 1960s, he became interested in the African-American struggle for civil rights and social justice, particularly with its commitment to nonviolence as the means to bring about democratic change. Because same-sex marriage was illegal at the time, Rustin legally adopted Naegle in 1982 (an instance of same-sex adult adoption). In this interview, Mr. Naegle reflects on his life in NYC, the progress of LGBT rights at… Naegle said he was delighted to hear the news, and said it held special significance since it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington — and helped affirm and recognize Rustin’s contributions. Naegle founded the Bayard Rustin Fund in 1997 to continue to educate others on peace, nonviolence, racial justice, LGBT equality and activism. On Aug. 8, President Obama announced that Rustin would be among a handful of individuals to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.
The important thing was Bayard was a part of a movement: It was not about one person, it was a whole team of people.”. It hurt a bit,” Naegle told theGrio about this characterization of their bond. Together, Naegle said, they met at the spiritual age of 40. He was immediately summoned to report for induction, did not appear, but was never indicted because the local draft board had acted improperly in his case. On November 20, 2013, Naegle accepted the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in honor of Rustin's work of 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He had a wonderful shock of white hair. He was responsible for organizing the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., and was a key organizer — relegated to behind the scenes largely because of his sexual orientation — for King’s seminal march. Serving as its Race Relations Secretary, he toured the country conducting Race Relations Institutes designed to facilitate communication and understanding among racial groups. He left college after one year to join VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), and worked for a year in a Chicago senior center managed by Hull House. He made three recordings of songs which have been reissued by The Bayard Rustin Fund, Inc. and are available from the address below. They found that legal protection, such as being allowed hospital visitation or inheriting a deceased partner’s estate, in adoption. Rustin’s activist career frequently made him the target of public attention and arrests. Rustin died in New York City Aug. 24 1987, leaving his partner of 10 years, Walter Naegle, behind to continue his legacy. “When the efforts first started being made for marriage equality, I would say I was skeptical about it and the likelihood of it happening but when I sat down and thought of the logic of it all, a lot of it was about educating people who weren’t aware of the vast number of laws and protections that people have when they are legally married. “I was grateful and I think that it puts him in a position as a recognized individual who promoted democracy and equality in the country,” he said. He moved to New York City in January 1970 and found a studio apartment in Spanish Harlem. "Walter Naegle, surviving partner of Bayard Rustin, shares memories of the 1963 march organizer", "Bayard Rustin: The Man Homophobia Almost Erased From History", "Long Before Same-Sex Marriage, 'Adopted Son' Could Mean 'Life Partner. And it was the reality. Unless it is recognized by the state, you are not entitled to all those protections and laws.”. , The day that I met Bayard I was actually on my way to Times Square. Many LGBT partners found themselves unable to visit hospitalized partners because they were not considered family.
In this issue, we explore the ways that Nashville's push for criminal justice reform within the system is influenced by prominent lesbian leadership. He was invited to address gay and lesbian groups and testified on behalf of New York City’s gay rights bill.A collection of Mr. Rustin’s essays, Down the Line, was published in 1971. Rustin has even been recognized by President Obama, who will posthumously award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this year for his tremendous service. For more than 50 years, Bayard Rustin was a strategist and activist in the struggle for human rights and economic justice. Arrested in 1953 on a “morals charge,” he lost his job at the FOR, but found work with another anti-war group, the War Resisters League. The two were together for 10 years until Rustin's death in 1987.. Churches are an awesome place to start because some harbor a lot of anti-LGBT feelings. In 2016 Rustin's residence was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Since marriage was not an option then, we applied for a civil adoption.
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