This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Rustin being covered here wouldn’t exist. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
The powerful story of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black civil rights leader who dedicated his life to a quest for racial equality, is finally getting the spotlight. Are you ready to know more? Keep reading!
Here we go!
Born in 1912, Bayard Rustin was a visionary civil rights activist who was a close advisor to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A staunch proponent of non-violent protest, in part due to his Quaker upbringing, Rustin was the driving force behind organizing the historic March on Washington in 1963. He worked with a number of groups through the years including serving as president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, a civil rights organization in New York City, from 1966 to 1979.
Of Rustin, King wrote to a colleague: “We are thoroughly committed to the method of nonviolence in our struggle and we are convinced that Bayard’s expertness and commitment in this area will be of inestimable value.”
Later in life Rustin turned his attention to LGBTQ+ activism and its intersection with the continuing civil rights fight, and was the first to bring the AIDS crisis to the attention of the NAACP. He passed away in 1987.
Because he was a gay man who was forced to live with the constraints and prejudices of the time— including beatings and arrests—his role in the movement was not widely publicized and thus the true significance of his contribution has been muted.
He received recognition in 2013 when he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Netflix will release the feature film Rustin on November 17, 2023, marking the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
In Rustin movie, the architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. He challenged authority, never apologized for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired. And he did not back down. He made history, and in turn, he was forgotten.
Directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe and starring Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo, Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom.
And here’s Rustin movie first look:
Rustin movie will Premiere on November 17 on Netflix.