Civil Rights, News

California Governor pardons Bayard Rustin


the pardon is part of a clemency initiative

Bayard Rustin


California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a posthumous pardon to civil rights icon Bayard Rustin, who was arrested in 1953 for engaging in sex with two men.

The pardon is part of a clemency initiative by Gov. Newsome targeting individuals who were prosecuted in California for being gay.

California legislators had called for the governor to pardon Rustin who had been convicted of a misdemeanor vagrancy offence for engaging in consensual sex. A judge sentenced him to jail and he had to register as a sex offender.

The new clemency initiative will allow pardons for people like Rustin who were subject to discriminatory arrest and prosecution for engaging in consensual sexual contact with people of the same sex, the governor’s office said.

The clemency initiative will work to identify eligible pardon candidates. To learn about the pardon, sign up

Rustin was the key organizer behind the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and he was a strategist for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. regarding the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

On August 8, 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Rustin died August 24, 1987. He was 75.



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