Famous People

Bayard Rustin

President Obama has announced that Bayard Rustin will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. To read the full text of the President’s announcement, click here.

Born March 17, 1912
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Died August 24, 1987 (aged 75)
Manhattan, New York
Organization Fellowship of Reconciliation, Congress of Racial Equality, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Social Democrats, USA (National Chairman), A. Philip Randolph Institute (President)
Movement African-American Civil Rights Movement, Peace Movement, Socialism, Gay Rights Movement
Religion Quaker
Partner(s) Walter Naegle
Awards Presidential Medal of Freed

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

During his 60-year career as an activist, organizer and "troublemaker," Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement. His passionate belief in Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence drew Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to him in the 1940's and 50's; his practice of those beliefs drew the attention of the FBI and police. In 1963, Rustin brought his unique skills to the crowning glory of his civil rights career: his work organizing the March on Washington, the biggest protest America had ever seen. But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him again and again as a "brother outsider." Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin combines rare archival footage — some of it never before broadcast in the U.S. — with provocative interviews to illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change. PBS’ POV site for Brother Outsider

About the Film

BROTHER OUTSIDER takes a multifaceted approach to the material, reflecting the complexity of Rustin’s story. This feature-length portrait unfolds both chronologically and thematically, using interviews and traditional documentary techniques, as well as experimental approaches.

Official Trailer

Bayard Rustin (posthumous)

Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all. An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad. As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.

Bayard Rustin: An American Hero No Longer Forgotten
Secretary Tom Perez on August 27, 2013 at 05:43 PM EDT

“I am correcting a longstanding oversight by formally inducting Bayard Rustin into the Labor Department's Hall of Honor.”

Obama, Bayard Rustin, and the New LGBT Civil-Rights Movement

As the U.S. celebrates the equality movement of the 1960s, a new one is on the march. Could anyone have tethered the two like the first black president?
Kerry Eleveld Aug 29 2013, 12:55 PM ET

Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin — Freedom Fighters and Friends

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