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Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin
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Top Customer Reviews
D'Emilio records Rustin's life warts and all. He documents his numerous arrests for acts of civil disobedience, for being a conscientious objector, as well as on a morals charge.
However, it is the triumphs that are most exhilerating to read about. The March on Washington, as one would expect, is a highlight. Finally, and definitively, the credit for coordinating this event is attributed to Rustin. In the face of extreme opposition from the likes of Strom Thurmond and J. Edgar Hoover, Rustin staged an event of epic porportion and historic significance.
Rustin was one of the great unsung heroes of the last century. John D'Emilio's biography, with a cast of characters that reads like a who's who of the twentieth century, is a tribute to Rustin and a model of its kind.
D'Emilo appears to capture all those elements of Rustin, and suggests both how Rustin shaped those political movements in which he involved himself and how they served to shape him.
My students generally all are familiar with Dr. King's speech at the 1963 March on Washington. With few exceptions, however, they have never heard of the two men who planned the March: labor leader A.P. Randolph and Rustin. D'Emilo's book serves to remind us of just how much an injustice it is that Rustin's role in the Civil Rights movement has been so much forgotten.
Long before the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960's, Rustin was deeply involved in promoting equality through the means of non-violence. Raised a Quaker the ideals of pacifism were well embedded in his philosophies that it was only after joining forces with other pacifists, like A.J. Muste, that they together formed several successful organizations. Though his participation in these associations, like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was impressive it was his personal efforts that were most notable. In the 1942 while on a bus he decided to move to the white section; a decision that resulted in violence he refused to react to and imprisonment.
As an African-American, a homosexual, a former communist, conscientious objector, and pacifist the challenges he faced were many. Not only was he battling the stigmas of his race, he was also battling the stigma of his sexual orientation at a time when recognition of homosexuality was minimal.Read more ›
For anyone seeking to making a difference, this inspirational biography by John D'emilio is a "must-read." It will renew your commitment to justice and equality for all, regardless of the obstacles.
Within the first eighty pages, however, I was overwhelmed with awareness that this book, and the convictions and life of Bayard Rustin as John D'Emilio depicts them, bear a powerful message for this fateful and pivotal year in American Politics. The same issues of social injustice that Rustin and his contemporaries confronted during WWII and its aftermath are still with us. Despite the "great strides" that have led to the election of a (now very embattled) African American president and the open discussion of the extension of basic human rights to gays, the penchant for violence as a solution to social and international problems does not seem to be diminished. I believe it is vitally important to revisit the Gandhian ethos of non-violent resistance to injustice and oppression at all levels that Rustin so eloquently and courageously championed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well-crafted narrative about a brilliant, but too little known man.Published 8 months ago by James E. Jerdon
I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in the history of the long struggle for justice and peace. Read morePublished 14 months ago by RLG
I first read this book over 10 years ago having `stumbled' on it in a Gay bookstore where it was one of the "employee picks". Read morePublished on October 16, 2013 by Steven D.
I am reading this book because it is required for a course I am taking. it is excellent. The writing is interesting and informative. Highly recommended. Rhoada WaldPublished on October 5, 2013 by Rhoada Wald
I always read references about Bayard Rustin in other books about the civil rights movement. During the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington commemoration, many of the... Read morePublished on September 30, 2013 by Da Deputy
The book was great and very insightful. Required reading if you are interested in "other pillars of power" of the Civil Rights Movement in North America. Very nice read.Published on September 25, 2013 by Wolfclic