Thursday, November 15, 201211am
What Legacy Has Bayard Rustin Given Us?
Mandy Carter, National Black Justice Coalition
Mandy Carter is a southern African-American lesbian social justice activist with a 44-year movement
history of social, racial and lesbigaytrans justice organizing since 1968.
Presently, Ms. Carter is the National Coordinator of the Bayard Rustin 2012-2013 Commemoration
Project of the National Black Justice Coalition. A two-year national organizing effort to acknowledge,
honor, and celebrate black gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. 2012 marks the 100th year of his birth
in 1912. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Bayard Rustin was a tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr.
and architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Bayard Rustin dared to live as an openly gay
man during his 60 years of activism.
Raised in two orphanages and a foster home for her first 18 years in upstate New York, Ms. Carter
attributes the influences of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee, the former
Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the pacifist-based War Resisters League for her sustained
multi-racial, multi-issue organizing.
But, it was specifically her participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired 1968 Poor People’s
Campaign organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that solidified her life-
time commitment to nonviolence. The Poor People’s Campaign was the last project that Dr. King was
working on before his assassination in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.
Ms. Carter helped co-found two ground breaking organizations. Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). SONG, founded in 1993, is about building progressive
movement across the South by developing models of organizing that connect race, class, culture,
gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, SONG integrates work against homophobia
into freedom struggles in the South. She served as its Durham, North Carolina-based Executive Director
NBJC, founded in 2003, is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia. History was
made at the 100th Anniversary Convention of the NAACP in 2009 when they rolled out their NAACP LGBT
Equality Task Force that was a new partnership of the NAACP and NBJC. The LGBT Equality Task Force
is comprised of seven members, and is co-chaired by former NAACP National Chairman Julian Bond and
California NAACP Chair Alice Huffman. Both co-chairs have track records as champions of LGBT rights.
Most recently, Ms. Carter was inducted into the International Federation of Black Prides- Black LGBT
Hall of Fame during the January 2012 Martin Luther King Holiday. Established in 2011, the IFBP –
Black LGBT Hall of Fame is to recognize the achievements of Black LGBT Men and Women and their
contributions to the development of the LGBT community and African American community as a whole.
Other inductees include Ernest Hopkins, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Yolo Akil, Kylar Broadus, and David
Bridgeforth. Also elected posthumously are Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Sylvester James, Gertrude “Ma”
Rainey, Ruth Ellis, Billy Strayhorn, Mark Colomb, and Louis Bates.
Ms. Carter received the Frank Porter Graham Award of the American Civil Liberties Union of North
Carolina at its 42nd Annual Awards Ceremony in 2011. The award is given annually to recognize North
Carolina exemplary civil rights leaders.
Ms. Carter was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace
Prize 2005 in order to recognize, make visible and celebrate the impressive and valuable, yet often
invisible peace work of thousands of women around the world.
Ms. Carter was one of the five National Co-Chairs of Obama LGBT Pride, the LGBT grassroots
infrastructure for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign. She had done the hard work of
organizing grassroots networks, especially people of color throughout the South.
A partial list of groups that she has worked for and/or with that spans her 44 years includes:
War Resisters League/West, San Francisco . Staff
War Resisters League/Los Angeles, Los Angeles . Coordinator
War Resisters League/Southeast, Durham, NC . Staff
Ladyslipper Music, Durham, NC . Staff & Board Member
North Carolina Senate Vote ’90, Durham, NC . Campaign Manager
Rhythm Fest, Durham, NC . Co-Producer
Human Rights Campaign, Washington, DC . Board Member & Staff
National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum . Board Member & Staff
North Carolina Mobilization ’96, Durham, NC . Campaign Manager
Women’s Military Counter Recruiting Campaign, San Francisco . Coordinator
International Federation of Black Prides, Washington, DC . Co-Founder & Board Member
Obama Presidential Appointments Project . Advisory Committee Member
National Organization for Women, Washington, DC . Life-Time Member
National Association of Black and White Men Together . Life-Time Member
Democratic National Committee, Washington, DC . LGBT Caucus Secretary
Florida Vote/Equal Voice, Miami, FL. Campaign Manager
40th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, WDC . LGBT Speaker
Ms. Carter lives in Durham, North Carolina.