Life and Work of Bayard Rustin Subject of Lecture

February 6, 2014

Dr. John D'Emilio, author and pioneer in developing the field of gay and lesbian studies, will present the Armstrong Lecture at Bradley University on February 19 at 7 p.m. in Neumiller Lecture Hall in Bradley Hall. D'Emilio will discuss "An Agitator for Justice:  The Life and Work of Bayard Rustin" in the free lecture that is open to the public.

D'Emilio's research interests include gay and lesbian studies; the history of sexuality; social movements; and U.S. history after 1945. He is the author or editor of more than half a dozen books, including Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States; Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America [with Estelle Freedman]; Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University; and Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights[co-edited with William Turner and Urvashi Vaid]. Intimate Matters was quoted by Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional.

His book, The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture, published by Duke University Press, won the Editor's Choice Award of the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2003 as best book. Lost Prophet (The Free Press, 2003), a biography of American civil rights leader and Gandhian activist Bayard Rustin, has been widely honored. It was a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Award; winner of the Stonewall Award of the American Library Association for best gay and lesbian nonfiction book; and a New York Times "Notable Book" of 2003.

D'Emilio has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities; received the Brudner Prize from Yale University for lifetime contributions to gay and lesbian studies; and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California.

The Armstrong Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History, is named for William M. Armstrong '47, a Peoria native who attended Bradley in the 1930's and 1940's, interrupted by service in France and the Philippines during World War II.  Armstrong received a master's degree in history from Louisiana State University and his Ph.D. in history from Stanford University.