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I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Published on the centennial of his birth, and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, here is Bayard Rustin’s life story told in his own words.

Bayard Rustin has been called the “lost prophet” of the civil rights movement. A master strategist and tireless activist, he is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington,
Paperback, 516 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by City Lights Publishers
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Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has knocked my socks off! I knew that Rustin was a black gay Quaker, and I had even read his biography from a few years back, _Lost Prophet_, but to read his words is nothing less than sensational. His 1942 letter to his draft board, in which he refused CO status, is laced with language about Jesus and God. When he was imprisoned in that same year, the first thing that he did was write the warden about the segregated conditions of the inmates, saying that in the Sermon on the "Mountain ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book after a story on Democracy Now about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. I had no idea that the person who organized the march was a gay man and (at first) a committed pacifist who taught King the non-violence tactics employed by his hero Gandhi! The book is not a straight biography but is Rustin's many, many letters interspersed with small explanations about the significance of the addressee. Rustin became more and more moderate in his later yea ...more
Amanda Larsen
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me a few months, but I finished this incredible book! It is not a book for everybody- it is dense, historical and often academic. I found it to be challenging and deepened my understanding of the United States. Rustin was intersectional before there was a term for it- black, pro-labor, nonviolent and gay. By learning about his life and activities, I am humbled and inspired.

Three of my favorite learnings:
1. In a letter from jail, Rustin wrote to someone who asked him if nonviolence would
Rach Wigg
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intimate book about a central and often overlooked figure in the Civil Rights movement. Rustin was the moral and intellectual sounding board for almost every Civil Rights leader, and was also an out gay man (though he viewed sexuality as a private matter, and was outted and arrested in California, a conviction recently pardoned by the CA governor). I had never read a collection of letters before, and I’m not sure I will again anytime soon. It’s not a format I loved, but it was really ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you are interested in history, this is a must read book. Bayard Rustin's life and career shaped many social movements and advocacy efforts. I enjoyed this book.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More people need to know about Bayard Rustin, a gay African-American activist who played a role in practically every major Civil Rights Movement events. Through his correspondences, we learn about his beliefs. A great example of a flawed individual who did great good things.
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
"Collected from over more than four decades, these letters are a reminder that one man can make a difference. . . . culled with care by editor Long, who also provides scene-setting historical and cultural annotations."
-Richard Labonte, The Rainbow Times

"This collection of letters sheds light on one of the great overlooked activists of the 20th century. Each letter is prefaced by a paragraph providing context, helpful for those who don't have a deep knowledge of the events of that era. . . . His
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone thinking of a life in activism
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fascinating resource documenting Bayard's multi-interests. What a great, inspiring individual. However, little gay content. Have to vote no.
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