Statement on the Death of Bayard Rustin

 

August 25, 1987

 

We mourn the loss of Bayard Rustin, a great leader in the struggle for civil rights in the United States and for human rights throughout the world. He will be sorely missed by all those who shared his commitment to the twin causes of peace and freedom.

 

As few men have, Mr. Rustin understood that the struggle for the two is inseparable; either we achieve them both or neither. Mr. Rustin held to this belief all his adult life. This took great physical, intellectual, and, most of all, moral courage. He was denounced by former friends, because he never gave up his conviction that minorities in America could and would succeed based on their individual merit. But Mr. Rustin never gave an inch. Though a pacifist, he was a fighter to the finish. That is why over the course of his life he won the undying love of all who cherish freedom.