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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Bayard Rustin papers

Repository: Library of Congress. Manuscript Division

Collection Description (CRHP): See the interviews in the Speeches and Writings series and Subject Files series.

Collection Description (Extant): Civil rights activist and author. Correspondence, memoranda, speeches, notes, reports, press releases, financial records, agendas, printed material, and other papers documenting Bayard Rustin's leading role as an activist in the African-American civil rights movement, advocate of international human rights and social reform, and pacifist.

Rustin's papers document his philosophy and strategy for conducting passive resistance movements and securing civil rights for African Americans. Correspondence, topical files, and writings reflect his adherence to three basic principles: a belief that racial progress could be achieved only in an integrated framework; a dedication to the tactics of nonviolence; and a conviction that broad, permanent change could be accomplished only through coalition politics. Whether because of his Quaker beliefs, his socialism, or his affiliation with organized labor, Rustin always aimed at broader social objectives than those sought by most leaders of the civil rights movement. Civil rights for American blacks, he argued, could be secured only as a part and consequence of wider and deeper social reform in the United States and throughout the world. Aspects of this world view are reflected throughout the collection. Included is material illustrating Rustin's struggle for the rights of other minorities and the poor in the United States and the disenfranchised people of Africa, India, Asia, and South America.

Access Copy Note: The papers of Bayard Rustin are open to research. Researchers are advised to contact the Manuscript Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.

Date(s): 1942-1987

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: MSS77373

Extent: 17,500 items ; 49 containers plus 1 oversize ; 19.6 linear feet ; 23 microfilm reels

Finding Aid URL:

Language: English

Related Archival Items: Researchers using the papers of Bayard T. Rustin may wish to examine the Manuscript Division's related holdings. These include the papers of A. Philip Randolph, Kenneth Bancroft Clark, Roy Wilkins and the records of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and other civil rights organizations.

Interviewees: Bayard Rustin

Rights (Extant): The status of copyright in the unpublished writings of Bayard Rustin is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).


African American civil rights workers
Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
Gay activists
Gay rights
Human rights
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963
Peace movements
Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987
Southern Christian Leadership Conference




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   September 26, 2018
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