Jazz in the Park- Eddie Butts Band

Presented by East Town Association, Inc. at Cathedral Square Park August 29, 2013 East Town Association Presents: Eddie Butts Band

Eddie Butts Band photo courtesy of Milwaukee 365.com

Happy Hour starts at 5 p.m. Music starts at 6 p.m. The Eddie Butts Band has delighted audiences at festivals and on the concert and night club circuits for many years. The Eddie Butts Band is also one of the longest-running, most successful bands in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Eddie is also known as one of the city’s premier vocalists. When you combine his smoky baritone with the sweet tones of the band’s two female vocalists, the fantastic musicianship and a delicious blend of jazz, pop and R&B, well, it’s easy to see why the Eddie Butts Band is considered a Milwaukee & Wisconsin favorite year after year. Enjoy an evening of entertainment, dancing and fun with Milwaukee’s MUST SEE BAND, THE EDDIE BUTTS BAND!

Fla. Teen Becomes Youngest Person Ever To Pass UK Bar Exam

By

Florida Teenager Gabrielle Turnquest has a habit of breaking scholastic records. After becoming the youngest person to graduate from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., at age 16, Ms. Turnquest achieved another milestone by becoming the youngest person to pass the Bar of England and Wales exam at 18.

The Telegraph reported on Turnquest’s amazing feat, and it appears that educational excellence runs in the family; her sister, Kandi also passed the bar exam at 22-years-old. The average age of lawyers taking the Bar Professional Training Course is 27.

Although Turnquest is qualified to work in the United Kingdom, she wants to return to America to qualify for the Bar there as well.

“I am honored to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exams but, really, I was not aware at the time what the average age was,” said Turnquest, who is from the town of Windermere, Fla. “I didn’t fully realize the impact of it.”

Turnquest also has an opportunity to qualify for the Bahamas Bar, a goal of hers since that is her parents’ native country. If she does want to work in the UK, however, she would have to work at the apprentice level for at least one year before being offered tenure.

Turnquest hopes to become a fashion law specialist. At her current rate, there’s no reason not to expect she’ll be successful in her aims there as well.

Gabrielle Turnquest photo courtesy of laughterkey.com

President Obama Talks With Tom Joyner & Sybil Wilkes About Dr. MLK’s Legacy, ‘The Butler’ & More

President Obama Sybil and Tom photo courtesy of blackamericaweb.com

Aug 27, 2013 

By NewsOne Staff

Radio legend Tom Joyner and co-host Sybil Wilkes of the Tom Joyner Morning Show were invited to the White House for an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office!

President Obama opened up to the syndicated radio hosts about Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the Affordable Care Act, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and more.

Read the entire interview below.

TOM JOYNER: Okay. We’re in the Oval Office of the –

SYBIL WILKES: We’re in — wait, wait, wait. Take that in. Can you take that in? We’re in the Oval Office.

TOM JOYNER: We are in the Oval Office with the President on the day before he does his speech for the — commemorating the I Have A Dream speech. Is it ready?

THE PRESIDENT: Not quite yet. Still working on it. But let me just say for the record right now, it won’t be as good as the speech 50 years ago. (Laughter.) I just want to get that out there early. Because when you are talking about Dr. King’s speech at the March on Washington, you’re talking about one of the maybe five greatest speeches in American history. And the words that he spoke at that particular moment, with so much at stake, and the way in which he captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation I think is unmatched.

And so all I can do on an occasion like this is just to celebrate the accomplishments of all of those folks whose shoulders we stand on and then remind people that the work is still out there for us to do, and that we honor his speech but also, more importantly in many ways, the organization of the ordinary people who came out for that speech. We honor them not by giving another speech ourselves — because it won’t be as good — but instead by just doing the day-to-day work to make sure this is a more equal and more just society.

TOM JOYNER: Fifty years later, what do you think Dr. King would have said about our progress and his dream?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that Dr. King would be amazed in many ways about the progress that we’ve made. I don’t think that he would look and say nothing has changed. He would say, the fact that we have equal rights before the law; the fact that the judicial system and the courts are accessible; and that African-Americans serve on juries; and that we have thousands of African-American elected officials all across the country; and that we’ve got African-American CEOs of Fortune 100 companies; and we have a large thriving congressional black caucus, and that, as a consequence of some of the doors that he and others helped kick down, Latinos and women and Asians and the disabled and gays and lesbians, that they all also suddenly found a seat at the table — I think he would say it was a glorious thing.

What he would also say, though, is that the March on Washington was about jobs and justice. And that when it comes to the economy, when it comes to inequality, when it comes to wealth, when it comes to the challenges that inner cities experience, he would say that we have not made as much progress as the civil and social progress that we’ve made, and that it’s not enough just to have a black President, it’s not enough just to have a black syndicated radio show host. The question is, does the ordinary person, day-to-day, can they succeed. And we have not made as much progress as we need to on that, and that is something that I spend all my time thinking about, is how do we give opportunity to everybody so if they work hard they can make it in this country.

TOM JOYNER: What do you think he would say about Obamacare?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, he would like that. Well, because I think he understood that health care, health security is not a privilege; it’s something that in a country as wealthy as ours, everybody should have access to.

And starting on October 1st, because of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — anybody who doesn’t have health insurance in this country is going to be able to get it at an affordable rate. And we were just talking with some folks earlier about the fact that, for a lot of people, it will be cheaper than your cell phone bill, and as a consequence you’ll be getting free prevention, free checkups. And, if heaven forbid you get sick or some family member gets sick, even if you have a preexisting condition, you know that you’re going to have the security — you’re not going to lose your house, you’re not going to suddenly go bankrupt, and you’re going to be able to get the treatment that you need.

So the key is going to be just signing folks up. And one of the things that we’re really going to be emphasizing in the month of September, October and then all the way through March of next year, is letting people know it’s simple to sign up. You go to healthcare.gov. You find out exactly what plan is right for you. It’s going to be affordable. You’re going to be able to get a subsidy, help in terms of paying for it. And we’re really counting on everybody out there to get informed. If you know what it’s about and you screen out all the misinformation, you’ll discover this is something that really is going to help millions of people.

Read and listen to the full interview on Black America Web.

For Alvarez Fight, Mayweather Said To Be In Top Form

August 27, 2013 By Associated Press

Mayweather vs. Alvarez

LAS VEGAS — A rare series of storms had cooled the summer air to an almost tolerable level, though it was steamy as ever inside Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s (pictured left) gym just a few miles from the Vegas Strip. With a couple of sparring partners in front of him late Monday afternoon, Mayweather turned up the heat even more. “Right there, right there,” he yelled at the first hapless pugilist to feel his wrath. “You can’t get away. I’ll hit you when I want to.” It didn’t take Mayweather long to do just that. As the third of four rounds stretched to the 10-minute mark he connected with a rapid volley of punches, finishing it off with a left hook that rocked his opponent for the day, sending him stumbling across the ring. All in a day’s work, but there was still work to be done. Always is when it’s Mayweather in training and especially now, less than three weeks before his fight with undefeated Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (pictured). It’s a big fight, but all Mayweather fights are big. He’s the undisputed pay-per-view king and the Sept. 14 matchup is so attractive that the pay-per-view price is a whopping $74.95 for those watching in high definition. Though Mayweather’s last fight in May against Robert Guerrero — for which he earned $32 million — wasn’t a huge box office smash, this one should make executives at Showtime and CBS feel better about the money they laid out for boxing’s biggest draw. Better yet, he’s fighting for the second time in four months after not fighting more than once a year since 2007. “I’m ready to perform and entertain, that’s what it’s all about,” Mayweather said. “I’m a lot older now so the last five fights I have I want to go out with a bang.” The fight is the second in his six-fight deal with Showtime, which lured him from HBO to help sell cable subscriptions and build the network’s boxing brand. He says the bouts will be the last of his career, though at the age of 36 he doesn’t seem to have lost any of the reflexes or speed that have helped him win all 44 of his fights in a professional career that began following the 1996 Olympics. What has changed is how Mayweather sells himself, even if he claims he hasn’t changed. Ever since his release from a Las Vegas jail after serving 64 days on domestic abuse charges last year Mayweather has been the model of politeness and civility — in sharp contrast to the bad boy persona that made him such a big attraction over the years. That’s one reason why Showtime’s All Access show on Mayweather-Alvarez seemed to fall a bit flat in the first episode. There were the requisite shots, of course, of Mayweather and Alvarez in face-offs and together on a tour promoting the bout, but there wasn’t the drama of Mayweather’s earlier fights when he could be seen yelling at his father or counting stacks of $100 bills with his former buddy, 50 Cent.

That sold pay-per-views to people who spent their money hoping to either see Mayweather win or get knocked out. But Mayweather seems to either have outgrown the part or simply doesn’t want to play it anymore.

“What do you mean by image? My image has always been as an entertainer, but at home I’m a great father,” Mayweather said. “There’s no bad guy, that’s an image the critics picked. My image is to make sure my kids get the best education and provide a comfortable life for my family.”

If the new Mayweather is a kinder and gentler sort outside the ring, he’s changed some inside, too. His fights sometimes tended to become tedious affairs as he sought to win without getting hit, but in recent years he has changed his style somewhat and has become more aggressive and flat-footed.

It showed on Monday as he walked two sparring partners across the ring, banging away with left hooks and right hands while keeping up a steady stream of chatter. The short time between fights should be beneficial to Mayweather at his age, and he’s already inside the 152-pound catch weight for the fight.

“I got back into it so quick that I’m still sharp,” he said. “I feel good, real good.”

Boxing fans should feel good, too, that Mayweather is taking on Alvarez, a 23-year-old who is unbeaten in 42 fights and holds a piece of the 154-pound title. Mayweather has been criticized in the past for hand picking his opponents and refusing to fight Manny Pacquiao, but Alvarez is about as dangerous a fight as any he could take on at this stage of his career.

Not that Mayweather will acknowledge any such thing. Icing his sometimes brittle hands while sitting in a dressing room after his workout he questioned the quality of Alvarez’s opponents, and said it was just another fight to him.

Another fight and another $40-50 million payout that will cement his reign this year as the highest paid athlete in the world.

As for Pacquiao and the fight that will likely now never happen?

“I don’t even know who that is,” Mayweather said.

Sound off!

Stop looking for a handout Black America and be responsible; Your destiny is in your own hands

FIRST PERSON

by Taki S. Raton

I read with deep concern the remarks of African American politicians and organization stakeholders in the Black press this past August 16 weekend regarding the “rash” of shootings in Milwaukee.

As of Thursday August 13, it is reported, seven people have been fatally shot and 16 injured by gunfire. My concern was fueled by the reasoning given for this sudden rise in violence citing poverty, unemployment rates, and disparities in income and opportunity – the traditional African American mainstreamed response locally and nationally.

Our children need to know that Black people are the only people in the country and indeed the world – per my concern – that blames everyone else and everything else for our problems and that we assume absolutely no responsibility, personal or collectively as a group, for our condition and dire decaying circumstance here in 2013 America.

And we certainly cannot afford another generation to carry forth this same semblance of powerlessness, dependency, and irresponsibility, both personal and collectively, as an African American culture.

Why is it, and perhaps I may need just s little bit of help here, why is it that we expect everyone else to invest in us when we obviously do not invest in ourselves? Why should we expect everyone else to do for us when – obviously – we do not do for ourselves?

And when it comes to economics and job development, we are always “begging” and expecting others to provide for us as presumed last week in the local leaders response wording.

Black people literally do just the exact opposite of what White people and each and every other ethnic group do in America and globally to generate a job producing economic base amongst and for their own people.

Black folk go against just about every rule of thumb when it comes to community economic development as it all starts with family, culture and in-group aggregated alignments locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

On Friday, July 26, I was invited down to Lafayette, Louisiana to keynote the opening of their annual Ujamaa 2013 Conference held at the Imani Temple # 29.

In observance of Kwanzaa’s fourth principle, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), my presentation theme was “Retrieving Black Family Values for Economic Development.”

Primary sources used in preparation for this 120-minute power point delivery were Dr. Amos Wilson (“Blueprint for Black Power,” 1998), Dr. Claude Anderson (“Black Labor/White Wealth,” 1994), and Dr. Michael D. Woodard (“Black Entrepreneurs in America,” 1997).

Wilson informs us clearly that in America’s pluralistic society, ethnicity, family and in-group cultural alignments are cornerstones in respective group economic empowerment, not dependence on the system. He cites the Jews, British, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Afghans, Dominicans, and Hispanics to name a few. Black folk have been here in America longer than any other culture of color.

But right now as of 2013, we are on the bottom and still slipping economically. And don’t talk about slavery, Jim Crow or discrimination.

Woodard reveals Black entrepreneurial activity during the enslavement and Jim Crow era that would make us proud.

Over a 313-year period since Anthony Johnson, who in 1651was cited as the first Black entrepreneur of record, we had over 60,000 free Africans (Negroes) dealing in manufacturing, construction, transportation, extraction industries, services and carpentry. In 1890, exactly 123 years ago, 74,000 Blacks were self-employed in various cities nationwide, in such fields as draymen, bankers, merchants, salesmen, packers, shippers, hotel-keepers, livery stable keepers, and undertakers. Our children should be taught these modeled examples.

But civil rights took Black folk into another direction, away from “Race First” agendas, which all other groups follow.

In New York, cites Wilson, there are 300,000 Koreans in the metropolitan area with 10,000 Korean-owned businesses of which 500 are deli’s, grocery stores or supermarkets. Their total sales annually approach $1.5 billion. They hire and train their own kind.

The Afghan refugees are the smallest and later arriving group in New York. Numbering less than 4,000, almost all are war refugees.

Lacking higher education, trade skills, and having little knowledge of English, Afghans, reveals Wilson, have “become specialists in the fast food chicken business, owning more than 200 area fast-food restaurants.

All of their carpenters, painters, and chicken suppliers, note the “Blueprint” author, are Afghans. One Afghan owns as many as 40 franchised fried chicken restaurants.

How do they do it? Nearly the same way as other groups build their businesses.

Established immigrants take “new arrivals” by the hand and teach their cultural kin the intricacies of running a business. “It’s like a formula,” one Afghan is quoted as saying. “When the new one comes to the store, they sit. They watch. They learn, and then they work.”

Black people per civil rights leadership did just the opposite. Wilson positions that the economic emphasis of this agenda was “on jobs supplied by White businesses instead of on community-based economic expansion; on income rather than wealth; on spending rather than saving.”

He adds that the freedom to spend money with, around and next to White people became almost synonymous with “freedom” and “First-class” citizenship in the minds of many African Americans.

And while this freedom of consumption legally was not to be denied, cites the scholar, it effectively “led to the redistribution of Black consumer spending away from Black businesses toward White business establishments with the result that many Black businesses lost a large portion, if not their complete Black clientele.” In many ways, observes Wilson, the civil rights movement “proved to be a boom to White-owned businesses by providing them with a large new clientele, a new market, and a very sizable pool of money unavailable to them before.”

So what about Black businesses and the effort to inspire Black folk to support and buy Black? We did just the opposite.

Unlike the Jews, British, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Afghans, Dominicans, and Hispanics and all other groups in pluralistic America; unlike the natural sense of working for and building amongst one’s own kind first, foremost and always, buying Black and supporting Black was viewed by many African Americans, says Wilson, as a “form of self-segregation, as indicative of separatism, anti-integration, and anti-the struggle for racial equality.”

This is the madness that Black folk have been following now for over the past 43 years. Our children should know this so that they won’t, moving forward, make the same mistake.

Citing such sources as the September 1993 edition of Target Market News, Black people nationally spend over $154 billion dollars annually with other people outside of our community on such consumables as footwear, clothing, coin operated laundry and dry cleaning, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, vehicle purchases, personal care products, electronic products, housing and health care.

We greatly assist in securing, for example, the economic base of retailers, manufacturers, producers, distributors of others.

Our dollars help to keep other people employed while our own politicians and organizational leaders nationwide run to the system asking for jobs and resources for our community when very easily we can provide for our own using such examples as the Garvey, Booker T. Washington and Nation of Islam models.

And we have other historical guides such as Tulsa, Durham, and Natchez. Our children need to know, for instance, that according to Robert Roderick Johnson in “Wake Up Black American, You’re Sleepwalking Back Into Slavery,” Natchez, Tennessee had a Black business district in the main section of the downtown area. There were Black doctors, lawyers, restaurants, nightclubs, soda fountains, barbershops, beauty/nail shops, gambling joints, five funeral homes and a Black lottery.

These businesses provided income for many families and kept money moving around this small Black community.

During the 1940’s, more than 150 businesses were owned by African Americans and flourished in Durham, North Carolina.

Among these businesses were restaurants, movie theaters, barbershops, nightclubs, boarding houses, pressing ships, grocery stores, banks, savings and loan establishments and funeral parlors.

Dr. Claude Anderson shares with us that one of the largest and most successful Black businesses in the nation was the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company with remains the largest African American owned insurance company in 2012 with an excess of $200 million.

Up until 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street had created 600 Black owned businesses to include 21 churches, 22 Black owned restaurants, 30 Black owned grocery stores, two Black owned movie theaters, six Black owned private airplanes, one Black owned and operated hospital, one bank and its own school system.

And most assuredly, in addition to preparing its young for college and professional careers outside of Tulsa, accounts disclose that Tulsa’s Black owned and operated school system generationally prepared a proud and competent young Black work force for their businesses.

Our children need to know this (their) history. They need to know these models. They need to know that throughout enslavement, despite Jim Crow, the KKK and the like, Black people transcended, excelled and triumphantly mastered over any and all obstacles and challenges of racism, White Supremacy and segregation.

They, our children, need to know how we did that – the path, the models, the lessons, the examples of victory, growth and progressive ascension above, apart and beyond Black leadership, which was always calling out for that extended White hand and “lift-up” by others as though we are eternal child-like weaklings unable to do for self without someone else’s meager paternalistic hand-outs.

Our children (and others) need to know – then and now – that we have a legacy of masterful perfect Black communities where Black-on-Black violence was unheard of; where we ourselves lovingly prepared our children for dignified pluralistic humane interaction, civil cooperation, work ethic competency, competitive skill sets, and contributory orientation towards the advancement of humankind ideals; where parents, intact Black families, and Black community based institutions – like all other groups in America and throughout the globe – had a collective sense of self-esteem and self-group ideals; where there was a collective group sense of identity, purpose and direction, and where our beautiful Black children were raised to know, embrace and cultivate their own talents, skills, gifts, and genius.

This we did then, without the now present worry or need for a local police force to spend $500,000 dollars on police overtime because Black youth were killing one another and Black adults have lost control over Black youth.

Anderson tells us that right now, Black people “are on their own.” It is very clear that the system has given up on Black folk, particularly Black males. We are no longer needed, thus the proliferation of mass incarceration. Public schooling is shutting down across the country because now there is no need to educate Black youth. For what? Anderson has said on many occasions that the Hispanics, Asians, Koreans, Indians and all other cultural groups will be the work force of the foreseeable future. This factual pattern, posits Anderson, actually began in the early 1970’s with Affirmative Action.

While we were so busy integrating and trying to be “accepted” by White folks, Anderson, in the May 6, 2011 post, “Black People Wake Up and Do For Self,” claims that Hispanics, women – where suitable – and everybody else per Affirmative Action framed themselves “under the categories of minority, diversity, multi-cultural, and people of color.”

He says that it is “amazing” that 95% of all the Hispanics now living in the country have been here less than 30 years and have now surpassed Blacks socio-economically and politically.

He adds that “No one, not one single Black civil rights leader” has ever challenged why Hispanics, women, and other groups were then able to call themselves a “minority” thus eventually knocking the Black man all the way down to the bottom of the barrel where we have since remained.

He shares that the difference with Black people and other folk of color, with an emphasis on Hispanics, include the fact that all other groups see themselves and collectively function as a distinct ethnic group while we Blacks see ourselves only as a racial group; that all other groups embrace and use their culture for their own economic, social and pluralistic advancement while Black people ignore, if not outright reject, Black culture and history; and lastly, all other cultures of prominence can speak, think and exist in their own native tongue while Blacks can only speak to one another in the language of our former oppressor.

So for those of you planning to attend the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington August 24, 2013 and celebrate King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, just know that this was just a dream that will never see the light of day.

There is not, nor will there ever be, nor can there ever be this “Black and White together” thing as envisioned because this is not the natural way of men or of cultural groups.

Each and every group in a multicultural pluralistic society; all men of respective cultural groupings nationally and globally are responsible for their own well being, for their own advancement and for the raising, grooming and preparation of their own children without looking for social assistance from their local mayor.

And I think actually that it was in fact and indeed our President, Barack Obama who said it best. In his keynote address to the NAACP’S 100th Anniversary Convention held July 16, 2009 at the Hilton Hotel ballroom in New York, he urged that Black Americans would “have to seize their own fate each and every day,” and that “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands, and don’t you forget that.”

Taki S. Raton is an Adjunct Professor at Springfield College, Milwaukee campus; a staff development consultant in the African Centered curriculum model, and president and CEO of African Global Images, Inc., a traveling exhibit designed to teach the unbroken legacy of Black mastery and accomplishment from humankind beginnings through the present. A host of his own Harambee Radio & TV radio show “Men Think,” Raton can be reached for consulting and presentation schedules at: [email protected].   

Wauwatosa/Milwaukee construction project will impact traffic along N. 100th St.


On Wednesday, August 21, work began on a concrete road reconstruction project in Wauwatosa and Milwaukee that will create a significant traffic disruption along N. 100th St. between W. Grantosa Dr. and W. Ruby Ave. That segment of road has been the site of a substantial sewer project for several months.

For the duration of the project through its anticipated completion in mid- October, that stretch of roadway will be reduced to one-way traffic moving northbound only.

Milwaukee Alderman Jim Bohl noted that residents of the Cloisters Northwest condominiums and other single- and multi-family homes in the area will be impacted by this project.

The one-way traffic will also affect the traffic patterns of students, parents and staff arriving at or departing Divine Savior Holy Angels (DSHA) High School and Milwaukee Lutheran High School at the beginning and end of the school day.

The change will particularly impact DSHA visitors, who will only be able to approach the school on N. 100th St. from the south at Grantosa Dr., and will only be able to leave the school in a northbound direction.

In spite of the change in traffic direction, the City of Wauwatosa Engineering Division said that access to parking lots and residences on N. 100th St. will be maintained throughout the project. The City of Wauwatosa is managing the project, and will be maintaining two-way traffic between W. Glendale Ave. and W. Hampton Ave.

With a construction project already reducing traffic to one lane in each direction on nearby W. Capitol Dr., Alderman Bohl said the additional work on N. 100th St. will likely contribute to further traffic delays.

He noted, however, that staff and students at Milwaukee Lutheran High School can avoid contributing to problems by arriving and leaving the school via W. Grantosa Dr. and N. 92nd St

Bayard Rustin: The Man Who Organized The March On Washington

by Cheryl Corley, article courtesy of NPR.Org

The trailblazing strategist behind the 1963 March on Washington will this year be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That’s a long way from the days when civil rights activists counted on Bayard Rustin’s hard work, but tried to push him aside because he was gay.

For 60 years, Rustin fought for peace and equal rights — demonstrating, organizing and protesting in the United States and around the world.

‘Strategic Nonviolence’

In the summer of 1963, he was the main organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. On Aug. 28, speaker after speaker roused a crowd of 250,000, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with his seminal “I Have A Dream” speech.

Rustin had less than two months to organize what was the largest demonstration the country had ever seen.

“As we follow this form of mass action and strategic nonviolence,” he said, “we will not only put pressure on the government, but we will put pressure on other groups which ought by their nature to be allied with us.”

Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was a law student in 1963 and a volunteer for the march. Rustin was her boss. “Bayard was one of a kind, and his talent was so enormous,” she says.

“The great achievement of the March on Washington is that Rustin had to work from the ground up,” Norton says.

“There had been many marches from the South … but calling people from all over the country to come to Washington, the capital of the United States, was unheard of.”

Speaking Truth To Power

Rustin grew up in West Chester, Pa. In college in the 1930s, he joined the Communist Youth League for a few years, attracted by the group’s anti-racist efforts. He later embraced socialism.

He was a gay black man, tall, with high cheekbones, and a gifted singer. He played a bit part in a Broadway musical alongside Paul Robeson, and Rustin often sang for his audiences as he toured the country, conducting race-relations workshops.

Rustin was considered a master organizer, a political intellectual and a pacifist; he served time in prison for refusing to register for the draft. He created the first Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation on interstate buses. Along with King, Rustin was one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

He had two strong mentors. A.J. Muste, the head of the pacifist organization the Fellowship of Reconciliation, hired Rustin as a youth secretary to conduct workshops and demonstrations against war and segregation. Rustin’s other mentor was A. Philip Randolph, the head of the first predominantly black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

“What Rustin took away from Randolph, especially, is the recognition that economic issues and racial justice issues are completely intertwined,” says his biographer, John D’Emilio.

Despite his extensive involvement in the civil rights movement, Rustin was content to remain behind the scenes, D’Emilio says.

“I think of it as part of the Quaker heritage that he internalized. You don’t push yourself forward,” D’Emilio says. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t get the credit for it. What is important is this notion of speaking truth to power.”

A Matter Of Orientation

In 1953, Rustin’s homosexuality became a public problem after he was found having sex in a parked car with two men. He was arrested on a morals charge. Later, when he was chosen to organize the 1963 march, some civil rights activists objected. In an effort to discredit the march, segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond took to the Senate floor, where he derided Rustin for being a communist, a draft dodger and a homosexual. Ironically, author D’Emilo says, it became a rallying point — for the civil rights leaders.

“Because no one could appear to be on the side of Strom Thurmond, he created, unwittingly, an opportunity for Rustin’s sexuality to stop being an issue,” he says.

The march was a success, and at its end, a triumphant Rustin stepped up to the microphone to read the demands that the leaders of the civil rights movement would take to President John F. Kennedy.

First on the list: “effective Civil Rights legislation — no compromise, no filibuster — and that it include public accommodations, decent housing, integrated education, [fair employment], and the right to vote.”

Rustin wanted to move the civil rights agenda from protesting to politics and to work within the system — blacks and whites together — to create jobs and other opportunities. His effort fell flat, stymied by a more militant generation and the dominant issue of the times, the Vietnam War. Rustin said, “It has split the civil rights movement down the middle. It has caused many white people who were in it to say, ‘That must wait now until we stop Vietnam.’ “

‘A Visionary’

In his later years, Rustin continued to speak out on a variety of fronts, and his personal life also changed: He met Walter Naegle.

Naegle, Rustin’s surviving partner, says that in the final years of his life, Rustin became more involved in gay rights.

“He saw this as another challenge, another barrier that had to be broken down — a larger struggle for human rights and for individual freedoms,” Neagle says

 Or, as Rustin put it:

“The barometer for judging the character of people in regards to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, lesbian.

The judgment as to whether you can trust the future, the social advancement, depending on people, will be judged on where they come out on that question.”

Activist Mandy Carter says Rustin was a visionary, understanding the parallels in the civil rights struggle and the gay rights movement. Carter is on the leadership council the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBT civil rights group.

“For me and for a lot of us who are black, and gay and lesbian, bi, trans, who see ourselves as social justice advocates as well, to have this person — such an amazing role model,” she says.

Carter says there was just no one like him, and she is delighted such a key individual in the civil rights movement is now being recognized with the nation’s highest honor.

Rust died in 1987 in New York. He was 75.