WASHINGTON – Months before Martin Luther King Jr. declared "I Have a Dream" to galvanize a crowd of thousands, Bayard Rustin was planning all the essential details to make the 1963 March on Washington a success.
Rustin, who died in 1987, is sometimes forgotten in civil rights history. He had been an outcast. He was a Quaker, a pacifist who opposed the Vietnam war and had flirted with communism. And he was gay.
Fifty years later, Rustin's legacy is a key part of the march anniversary. Civil rights leaders plan an unprecedented inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people this month as part of a larger movement calling for equal rights for all.
President Barack Obama also plans to honor Rustin this year with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.