Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sláinte + Bayard Rustin Letters Published

Like the President and First Lady of the United States, I have Irish ancestors, so in honor of Saint Patrick's Day, let me say: Sláinte!

Bayard Rustin & Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is also marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), the civil rights and peace activist, author, and queer pioneer.

This month, in conjunction with this centennial, City Lights Bookstore is publishing I Must Be Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters: Bayard Rustin, edited by Michael G. Long, foreword by Julian Bond (2012). (You can download a pdf copy of a Q&A with Michael Long here.)

Today on City Lights Bookstore's relatively new blog, there is an Issuu document version of Rustin's response to a request by the late black queer author, journalist and activist Joseph Beam (1954-1988), to contribute to an anthology that would later become the one of the groundbreaking books of black LGBTQ literature, In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology (Boston: Alyson Press, 1986). 

Since Issuu allows easy embedding, I'm posting it here. Rustin explains why he will not be contributing, noting that he was not in the vanguard of fighting for gay rights (yet he was at the same time out to leaders of the Civil Rights movement, like Rev. Dr. King, Jr., and others) and that although he fully supported equal rights for homosexuals, he considered "orientation" to be a "private matter."

The City Lights blog features a number of Rustin's letters (in Issuu format), as well as other marvelous material (including a post on Audre Lorde and another on Cherríe Moraga, for women's history month), so please do pay it a visit, and if you can, get or ask your library to order this new Rustin text.

No comments:

Post a Comment