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Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Bayard Rustin, the famed openly-gay African American organizer, introduced Martin Luther King, Jr. to the precepts of nonviolence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, thereby launching the birth of the Civil Rights Movement in 1955. Widely acclaimed as a founding father of modern black protest, Rustin reached his pinnacle of notoriety in 1963 as organizer of the March on Was ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published July 10th 2003 by Cleis Press
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Sep 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
Clear and incisive, Time on Two Crosses gathers together the collected writings of anti-racist and labor activist Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. The pieces cover a wide range of topics, from the inhumanity of incarceration in the U.S. to the struggle for self-determination among African nations. Rustin's early work often is heavy handed, dry, and diaristic, but his later work develops an incisive critique of American imperialism, racism, and sexism, making clear the compl ...more
May 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: black, history, queer, lefty
Rustin has intrigued me since I read Parting the Waters in college. He was a core ally of King, who valued him enormously as an organizer and strategist, but also acknowledged him a liability because he was an out gay man with a history of Communism. So, an interesting fellow in his own right, and one timely to reflect on in our present intersectional and ideological moment.

The best essays here show why King, Randolph, and others admired Rustin. His strategic intelligence illuminates topi
Richard Wagner
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In celebration of black history month.

The proof that one believes is in action. — Bayard Rustin

The best way to destroy a culture is to deny, suppress, or appropriate that people’s history. A culture without its art, without its myths, without its heroes will soon wither and die. For millennia indigenous peoples all over the world have suffered this kind of cultural rape at the hands of more powerful invaders. In America, slavery and segregation did its worst for African
Nancy Mott
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stimulating reading on many levels was this, my follow-up to "Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin" by John d'Emilio.

Rustin was a movement strategist par excellence; I wanted to learn as much as I can from his strategical insights. I got that for sure and so much more: Inspiration. Wisdom. And amazement at how much greater impact his Christian faith had on his life and work than was indicated by d'Emilio's biography.

Highpoints: How we taught Black youth that
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this along with the biography by John D'Emilio. These writings have an immediacy to them; one feels immersed in the times and events that Rustin is experiencing. One gets glimpses of Rustin's charisma. I listened to the Audible books on tape version. It may have been particularly effective. I am struck by Ruskin's commitment to nonviolence and the breath of the issues in which he was involved.
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great way at looking at individual primary sources and writings by Rustin.
The only negative thing I have to say is that the source does not give any indication of where and specifically when they were published. The context of them is wasted unless you have much understanding of what was happening at that point in time.

Other than that, a really helpful and informative read.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Mr. Rustin was true pioneer. Humble, dogged, intellectual...the man behind the movement. His actions inspire me to be a better citizen and to be a voice for those who need to be fought for. I hope all activists learn from his compassion and strategy.
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An awesome collection of essays that explore the complexities of several social movements.

I love this man!
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
B I heard about Bayard Rustin, an amazing Civil Rights and LGBT activist, on NPR. This book collects many of his speeches, essays, and journals. Eye-opening essays.
Lorenzo Barberis Canonico
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks ago I cam across a NYT video ( on a gay black civil rights leader who opposed affirmative action I posted a while back. A friend and I went all in on this guy and it was life-changing. Not only it turns out he was the one who introduced MLK to non-violence, but he was also a critical figure in the Montgomery Bus boycott and many other civil rights actions. Furthermore, as a Marxist, he believed the struggle for Afr ...more
Katie Suppes
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from reading this book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in civil and human rights. My only critique is that the editor's choice to organize the writings thematically, rather than chronologically, confused me at times since the book spans such a large portion of history (1940s-1980s).
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mentally ill

It has been that when the oppressed become the oppressed they are worse the people who lunch and kill others for seeking the freedoms that they themselves came but insanely deny to people the who did ask to come here really sick probably irreparably so.
Alexis Irving-Waiters
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Rustin was a pioneer on many fronts. He added freedom writers, gay rights and Gandhi philosophy to the Civil Rights lexicon. His writings gives a view of a complicated but important figure in American History. Fascinating read.
Dan Sherrell
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bayard Rustin helped make America what it is. Hard-won wisdom from an extremely effective and undersung organizer.
Matthew Hall
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, history, nonfiction
Great collection of essays, speeches, interviews and journal entries from over the course of Bayard Rustin's life-- ties together threads from the civil rights, gay rights, and economic justice movements with Rustin's personal queer, black, Quaker pacifist standpoint. Touches on so much, but definitely highlights his socialism and the way in which economic justice ties so many issues of inequality together.

It feels dated at moments, but that's to be expected when reading something wi
Adrien Lawyer
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I think Bayard Rustin should be required reading for American activists in the human rights arenas. I know that folks will have their own opinions about Israel and other topics that Mr. Rustin addresses, but the bottom line is that this openly gay man is the person who taught Gandhian non-violence to Martin Luther King, Jr. He organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and is one of the most under-appreciated forces in the African American civil rights movement. A treasure and a ...more
Susan Richards
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I found Bayard Rustin's earliest writings the most interesting - glimpses into the life and thought of a brilliant and inspirational human rights activist who was a central strategist of the civil rights movement. If you read his 1949 essay "Twenty-Two Days on a Chain Gang" you will never forget it. As someone who worked so closely with Dr. King, his writing on Malcolm X is fascinating. His vision about gay rights - and everything else - is prescient. Some of the later writing about Zimbabwe ind ...more
On every page, the poignancy and fearlessness Bayard Rustin displayed shines through. I'm really enjoyed reading about his reflections as a conscientious objector as well as some of the post-WW2, pre-Brown v. Board actions he was involved in, including testing integration on interstate bus travel.

I really gravitate toward the great minds of the movement: Rustin, Levinson, Nash, etc. and look forward to completing this reading.
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this collection of writings immensely. The book is broken into sections by topic, and each topic has the essays in chronological order.

I do quibble with the categorization of this book under African American Studies/Gay Studies. It should be categorized under Politics and History.

Full disclosure: I got this from a Goodreads giveaway.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
some really good stuff, but more dry, newsy, and political than i had hoped for.
Ann Hite
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important to know who Bayard Rustin was!!
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