Center for Black Equity honors civil rights leader Bayard Rustin

Presenting Sponsor, Hilton Worldwide, Has Ties to Historic 1963 March on Washington

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 the Center for Black Equity (CBE) will host an event honoring the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay, Black Civil Rights Movement leader who served as the lead organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event, titled “The Life and Legacy of Bayard Rustin,” free to the public, will consist of a 7 p.m. panel discussion at the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Equality Center, followed by an HRC sponsored reception.

The panel discussion will be moderated by CBE President/CEO Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr. and will feature:

  • The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. House of Representatives, District of Columbia, friend & colleague to Mr. Rustin during 1963 March on Washington;
  • Mandy Carter, National Coordinator, Bayard Rustin Commemoration, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC);
  • Damien Conners, National Executive Director/COO for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Inc (SCLC) and
  • MacArthur Flournoy, theologian, author, preacher and HRC Director for Faith Partnership and Mobilization.

Bayard Rustin, a confidant and key advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., served as the lead organizer for the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin, a pacifist leader, was instrumental in bringing Ghandi’s teachings of non-violent direct action to the Black Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Rustin was also an unapologetically, openly gay man and greatly influenced Dr. King’s understanding of the inherent connections between the civil rights struggles of the Black and LGBT communities.

Joining the event as a presenting sponsor is Hilton Worldwide.

“We are elated to have Hilton Worldwide involved with this event as a presenting sponsor,” Fowlkes said. “Some may not know this, but Capital Hilton (formerly known as the Statler-Hilton) on 16th Street in Washington, DC, served as a key organizing and meeting place for not only the 1963 March on Washington, but the Black Civil Rights Movement. For Bayard and many of the other leaders of the movement, that Hilton hotel was a critical meeting place for the months leading up to, and following, the March. There’s so much history there.”

The event is also being sponsored by Verizon.

“Verizon’s commitment to ending discrimination in America – be it on the basis of race, color, creed, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity — is long documented and appreciated,” Fowlkes added. “We’re grateful to have Verizon with us as we pay tribute to Bayard’s life and legacy.”

Fowlkes went on to speak more to Rustin’s legacy.

“Every civil rights leader in America is part of Bayard’s legacy – from the Peace Movement, to the Occupy Movement, to immigration, to LGBT equality. All our lives have been touch, influenced and made better because of Bayard Rustin. As an organizer in both the LGBT and African American communities, I’m proud to be part of his legacy and want to make sure his contributions are not forgotten.”

President Obama has announced that in November he will be posthumously presenting Bayard Rustin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Many hope this will help educate a broader audience on the significance of Rustin’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and American history.

The Center for Black Equity encourages press to RSVP for the event. To RSVP,  visit

If you are unable to attend the event in person, you can watch a livecast of the panel discussion and take part in the question and answer session that will follow.  Visit

Liveblogging the event will be Alvin McEwen, blogger of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, Pam’s House Blend (formerly), and The Huffington Post. Follow the liveblog at

If you are interested in liveblogging the event as well (either from the event or through the livecast) please contact Randevyn Pierre at

The Center for Black Equality will be livetweeting the event using the hashtag #BayardLegacy. Follow CBE on Twitter @Ctr4BlackEquity.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top