Black History Month is a time to spotlight African-Americans who made a difference. But many people don’t know that prominent African-Americans were part of the LGBTQ community.
Among them was Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black man who worked side-by-side with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The civil rights strategist who died in 1987 is honored every day at a little storefront in St. Louis’ Vandeventer neighborhood, called Rustin’s Place. It’s a drop-in center that largely serves LGBTQ people, particularly gay African-American men.
St. Louisan Erise Williams and his company, Williams and Associates, founded Rustin’s Place, with a focus on HIV prevention and testing and other services. Its outreach efforts also includes self-advocacy.
“This drop-in center is really part of an intervention … and it’s a core part of it, where we’re trying to empower, particularly, young, black, gay men,” Williams said.
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