ABSTRACT

BY ANY REASONABLE STANDARD of measurement, Bayard Rustin should rank as a key figure in the history of twentieth-century American political activism. He was arguably as responsible as anyone for injecting Gandhian nonviolence into the struggle for racial equality. Rustin was at the center of the pacifist circles which sparked the first demonstrations against the arms race and which mobilized against the Vietnam War. He was also fiercely internationalist, working closely with European pacifists and African liberation leaders. Rustin excelled as a tactician and a strategist, and projected a vision of revolutionary change. More than anyone else, he was a bridge linking the black struggle, peace campaigns, and a socialist vision of economic democracy.