Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin was a visionary and an openly gay man who dared to be out in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, when homophobia was at an apex in American culture. He was an architect of the 1963 March on Washington and a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. In this 50th anniversary of the historic march, and to celebrate Black History Month, “Brother Outsider,” the award-winning and groundbreaking documentary about Rusin’s life is airing on public television as part of the America ReFramed series on public TV’s World channel.
Rustin brought the techniques of non-violent civil disobedience to King and the movement. Rustin was unapologetically openly gay, but he distanced himself from the African-American civil rights movement for a time, in part due to a smear campaign that was designed to hurt Dr. King and the movement by claiming King and Rustin had a sexual relationship, something which was not true. But Rustin came back to organize the historic march.
"When we made the film ten years ago, who knew the life it would have, but it's timeless and timely," said Bennett Singer, co-producer and director of "Brother Outsider," on my SiriusXM radio program, where he was joined by co-producer and co-director Nancy Kates. "Every time we open up The New York Times, the news resonates with Rustin's life. It's fantastic that his story is being rediscovered and particularly that he's becoming a role model for LGBT youth, and other kids." (Scroll down to listen to the full interview)
“Brother Outsider” is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. Since it premiered on the Sundance Film Festival and has been broadcast over the years, it introduced millions of viewers -- including young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people -- to a civil rights hero and role model for our time.
"Brother Outsider" has received more than 25 awards and honors, and has been shown at the United Nations, The Kennedy Center, in the halls of Congress as as well as at hundreds of schools, community forums, labor gatherings, faith organizations and film festivals. It is available on DVD as well as on Netflix.
Listen to the interview with award-winning filmmakers Bennett Singer and Nancy Kates below: