When people think of the March on Washington, the first person who comes to mind is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But volunteers of the historical event also attribute the success of that day to Bayard Rustin – a.k.a. “Mr. March on Washington.” Bayard Rustin was the lead organizer of the August 28th march and is known as the only civil rights activist to pull together an event of such magnitude.
Bayard Rustin was a Pennsylvania native who was raised by a Quaker grandmother. An activist since he was a teen, Rustin had worked as a nightclub singer in Harlem, became part of a communist youth group and served jailed time in WWII for resistance. Rustin had been sent to prison more than two dozen times for protesting.