Black LGBT Pioneers You Should Know

As Black History Month comes to a close, here are a few people whose groundbreaking work should be celebrated all year.

BY Michelle Garcia

February 28 2013 7:00 AM ET


 
Bayard Rustin
Schools across America and around the world make sure to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., every year, but King's work could be incomplete without the help of close confidant and organizer, Bayard Rustin. He was the key strategist in many of King's actions, often making him the target of the federal government as he organized demonstrations, rallied activists, and lobbied politicians to help make life better for people of color. Even with such a high-profile position within the Civil Rights movement, during the 1950s and '60s, Rustin was openly gay, and evidence shows that he was embraced by King, whose message of acceptance continues to resonate decades after his active years.

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