Can you live a moral, upstanding life as a crusader for justice and still end up forgotten by everyone you help? In the case of Bayard Rustin, it seems to be a distinct possibility. Rustin fought antisemitism, protected the rights of Japanese Americans interned by the U.S. in World War II, worked with Gandhi in India and then used his wealth of organizational knowledge and pacifism to help guide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the path to righteous nonviolence. And yet Bayard Rustin is not a name people recognize. His unfortunate anonymity stems from his sexuality -- a gay black man was not someone Americans wanted to listen to or follow in the 1950s and '60s. So Rustin worked behind the scenes, tirelessly organizing events and effecting social change away from the public eye. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin is a documentary that brings Rustin out of history's shadow for a new generation. The film screens at 6 p.m. tonight at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) and is followed by a discussion facilitated by Rustin's partner, Walter Naegle, and St. Louis activist Joan Lipkin. Admission is free. Be sure to visit www.rustin.org, which offers further details on the life of Bayard Rustin and handles sales of the DVD.
Mon., June 24, 2013