Bayard Rustin – a Social Work Pioneer

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Njoku Bayard Rustin – A Social Work Pioneer April 10, 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech is known as one of the greatest speeches in history and it helped launch Dr. King into deity-like figure and made it possible to anoint him into that thinly selective fraternity of national leaders honored on the Washington Mall. Ironically, very little recognition has been given to the person accredited as the chief organizer of the march that gave Dr. King the podium to make the historic speech and who is generally viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such magnitude and unmatched scale, Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin has been described in various quarters as many things; a master strategist, tireless activist, a civil rights leader, and most importantly the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington (Naegle). This paper will explore the life and work of Bayard Rustin with the view of showing his contributions to Social Work and Social Welfare, who and what influenced him and who he influenced if any. Bayard Rustin who is known as one of the most important leaders of the American civil rights movement was born out of wedlock on March 17, 1912 to Florence Rustin and Archie Hopkins in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His maternal grandparents Janifer and Julia Rustin decided to raise him as their own son. Bayard Rustin’s grandmother Julia was raised as a member of the Society of Friends known as Quakers. She impressed on her children including Bayard certain Quaker principles such as the equality of all human beings before God, the vital need for nonviolence, and the importance of dealing with everyone with love and respect. Those were some of the principles that shaped the young and impressionable Bayard. Grandmother Julia was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as

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