Published: Aug 25, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 23, 2012 01:45 PM
The Durham County Library will host Mandy Carter of the Bayard Rustin Centennial Project and Barbara Lau of the Pauli Murray Project for a discussion on Rustin and Murray’s role in the 1963 March on Washington.
The event will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday – the 49th anniversary of the historic civil rights march – at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
In 1963, 250,000 people gathered in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to advocate for civil rights. While the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most iconic symbols of the march, fewer people know about Murray’s and Rustin’s roles.
Rustin, who would have turned 100 this year, is considered one of the most significant unknown figures in U.S. history. Until recently, the accomplishments of Murray – an activist, lawyer, writer and first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest – were hidden within history’s folds. Both influenced the March on Washington.
Carter and Lau will focus the evening’s discussion on the significant roles of women and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning) community in the civil rights movement and the historic letters from Murray and Rustin, reflecting their support and critique of the March. Participants will be challenged to consider what inspires individuals to gather and march, as well as the relevance of face-to-face public marches today. Film clips from the documentary “Brother Outsider: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin,” will help participants experience the energy of that time.
Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project, an initiative of the Duke Human Rights Center, facilitates community dialogues, creates educational resources about the life and legacy of Murray and leads efforts to rehabilitate Murray’s childhood home in Durham’s West End neighborhood. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and urban studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in folklore at UNC-Chapel Hill. Lau recently received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for humanitarian service from Duke and the Carlie B. Sessoms Award from the Durham Human Relations Commission.
Carter is national coordinator of the Bayard Rustin Commemoration 2012-13 project of the National Black Justice Coalition. She is a longtime activist in the struggles for the rights of women, African-Americans and members of the LGBTQ community. In 1993, Carter was one of the six co-founders of Southerners On New Ground and served as its executive director. Ten years later, Carter helped found the National Black Justice Coalition. Her passion for social justice earned her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 in an effort to recognize and celebrate the often invisible peace work of thousands of women.
The Durham Library Foundation is funding the program. For information, contact Joanne Abel at 919-560-0268.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.