March 23, 2016 at 10:04 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Bayard Rustin residence declared ‘historic place’
Bayard Rustin, gay news, Washington Blade

The Manhattan apartment of Bayard Rustin was added to the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo courtesy of the New York State Historic Preservation Office)

The U.S. National Park Service earlier this month added the Manhattan residence of famed gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin to its National Register of Historic Places.

Rustin, among other things, was the lead organizer of the 1963 African American civil rights march on Washington led by Martin Luther King Jr.

A National Park Service statement says he purchased apartment 9J in a high-rise apartment building in the Penn South complex in the West Chelsea section of Manhattan in 1962 and lived there until his death in 1987.

“In 1977, Bayard’s partner, Walter Naegle, moved into the apartment,” the statement says. “Naegle continues to live there, preserving the apartment almost exactly as Rustin left it.”

“Bayard Rustin, a gay African American Quaker, civil rights advocate, proponent of non-violence, and campaigner for social and economic justice, had an impact on many of the nation’s social justice achievements since the 1930s,” the Park Service statement says.

“In the course of his quarter-century residence in Penn South, Rustin organized and led the August 28, 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, D.C.,” the statement says.

Among other endeavors, Rustin led for many years the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an organized labor advocacy organization; and became a “restless world traveler” for Freedom House, a human rights organization, the Park Service statement says.

“In the mid-1980s he recognized the struggle for Lesbian and Gay civil rights and lobbied the New York City government to support the lesbian and gay rights bill,” it says.

LGBT history advocate Mark Meinke said the addition of the Rustin residence to the National Register of Historic Places represents the seventh LGBT-related site to be recognized, “with more to come.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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