Angelic Troublemakers: A look at Bayard Rustins' Principles for Queer Resis

Bayard Rustin was an activist in various movements for human rights for over 50 years. While he played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, mentoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, his contributions were marginalized for decades because he was an openly and unapolegetically gay man.

This workshop will examine Rustin's work and the influence of his theory of nonviolent resistance, which grew out of his religious pacifism and of which he was among the earliest American practitioners, decades before the concept became famously associated with Dr. King. We will explore Rustin's work and philosophy by reading and discussing some short examples of his writing and in particular focusing on perhaps his most famous quotation:

"We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers. Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable. The only weapon we have is our bodies. And we need to tuck them into places so that wheels don't turn."


Selections from Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin

"Letter to the Draft Board"

"Nonviolence vs. Jim Crow"

"From Montgomery to Stonewall"

A little about your workshop host: David Boyles (he/him) teaches writing at Arizona State University. He is a co-founder and current President of Drag Story Hour Arizona and also sits on the Board of Directors of the national Drag Queen Story Hour organization. Since its founding in 2019, Drag Story Hour Arizona has presented queer-inclusive family story hours hosted by drag performers at libraries, bookstores, museums, and colleges around Arizona. In 2020, David co-founded Virtual Arizona Pride, which has been presenting virtual programming for the Arizona LGBTQ+ community for the past year in order to fill the gap created by cancellation of in-person Pride events. He is passionate about supporting queer youth and creating spaces where youth can celebrate their identities and learn about queer art, culture, and history.