Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

Product Details
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.32 X 9.12 X 1.52 inches | 1.73 pounds

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About the Author
John D'Emilio is professor of history and of gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Policy director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, he is coauthor of Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, published by the University of Chicago Press, and author of The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture.
Lost Prophet is one of the saddest stories you will ever read. Rustin was a charismatic leader, a lifelong pacifist, an imprisoned conscientious objector during World War II, and a leading American teacher of Gandhian nonviolence . . . But Rustin was also gay, decades before the Supreme Court legitimated private sexual activity, and that cost him the backing of some radicals, black as well as white, for whom he had been an eloquent and courageous leader for nearly 40 years. . . . D'Emilio succeeds in detailing a highly useful life and--a prime task of biography--in redeeming a nearly forgotten figure and assigning him a proper role in an era that becomes more beclouded and mythologized with every passing year.

--Tom Wicker "Los Angeles Times"
A sympathetic, probing biography that brings homosexuality to the fore as a factor in the black activist's seminal but largely forgotten role in the civil rights movement. An eye-opening look at the personal ordeal underlying a revolutionary quest.

--Tom Wicker "Kirkus Reviews"
Drawing on interviews with Rustin's colleagues, friends, and lovers, D'Emilio explores all facets of the activist's life, from his Quaker upbringing and early imprisonment for draft dodging to his close but tenuous relationship with Martin Luther King Jr.

--Tom Wicker "Publishers Weekly"
Bayard Rustin became famous for working behind the scenes. The tactics of public protest that became familiar in the 1960s marches on Washington, Freedom Rides, sit-ins, passive resistance, civil disobedience were pioneered and refined by Rustin two decades earlier. Indeed, through his decisive influence on Martin Luther King Jr., Rustin created the model for the social movements of post-World War II America--civil rights, antiwar, gay liberation, feminist.

--Michael Anderson "New York Times Book Review"
A lively, detailed, immensely readable account of this key figure of the 20th century, including information about his sexual life and relationships.--Ian Young "Torso"
D'Emilio's work contributes greatly to the literature of Bayard Rustin and the civil rights movement. . . . Thanks to D'Emilio, not only have we found a 'lost prophet, ' but we have a much better understanding of why he was lost in the first place.--Steve Estes "Journal of the History of Sexuality"
D'Emilio's biography is an important book about an important man, well researched, with particularly perceptive insights into gay culture in America as well as providing a solid account of the history of the peace movement and the civil rights struggle.--Gerald Early "New York Review of Books"