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Reagan Praises Deceased Civil Rights Leader

August 25, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ President Reagan on Tuesday lauded the late Bayard Rustin as a civil rights leader who ″never gave up his conviction that minorities in America could and would succeed based on their individual merit.″

Rustin, 75, died Monday in New York after a heart attack.

″He will be sorely missed by all those who shared his commitment to the twin causes of peace and freedom,″ Reagan said. ″As few men have, Mr. Rustin understood that the struggle for the two is inseparable; either we achieve them both or neither. Mr. Rustin held to this belief all his adult life.

″This took great physical, intellectual, and, most of all, moral courage. He was denounced by former friends because he never gave up his conviction that minorities in America could and would succeed based on their individual merit.

″But, Mr. Rustin never gave an inch. Though a pacifist, he was a fighter to the finish. That is why over the course of his life he won the undying love of all who cherish freedom.″

Rustin became controversial in the civil rights movement for some of his stances, including opposition to quotas in employment and education, a position he shared with the Reagan administration.

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