Segments in this Video

Brother Outsider Introduction (02:55)


Bayard Rustin was a significant nonviolent influence in the Civil Rights movement, and a leader in several subsequent social change movements.

Angelic Troublemaker (02:07)

Rustin was born in a segregated Pennsylvania town in 1912. He had white friends, but was not allowed to see them outside of school.

Rustin's Early Life (02:29)

Rustin's Quaker grandmother raised him and taught him to stand up to injustice. He began his justice work as a child.

Rustin's College Education (02:36)

At Wilberforce, Rustin learned public speaking and organized a strike. In Harlem, he joined a quartet to pay for his college education. Rustin joined the Communist Party.

Muste Boys (02:24)

Rustin left the Communist Party when they dropped their concern for black people. Rustin worked for A.J. Muste in nonviolent political action.

Attacking Racial Injustice (02:58)

Rustin said, "One can react three ways: slavish acceptance, armed resistance, or nonviolent resistance." KKK members attend a rally. (Graphic images)

Rustin's Partner (01:24)

Davis Platt recalls meeting Rustin at a discussion about racial injustice; they made an instant connection.

Conscientious Objection (02:34)

Rustin was sentenced to three years in prison for refusing to submit to the draft.

Writing in Code (01:30)

While Rustin was in prison, he and Platt kept in touch. After he was released, they openly lived together.

A. Philip Randolph (02:59)

Randolph taught Rustin how to connect the labor movement and racial progress. A.J. Muste pressured Rustin to suppress his homosexuality.

Chain Gang Sentence (01:28)

In 1947, Rustin spent 30 days on a chain gang for sitting next to a white man on a bus. He wrote about it later, resulting in North Carolina ending the use of chain gang punishment.

Rustin in India (02:08)

Rustin traveled to India to attend a nonviolence conference. Rustin met many leaders from the independence movement.

Rustin's Sexuality (01:30)

Rustin was openly gay. Platt ended their relationship after four years because Rustin was interested in many people.

Rustin Arrested Again (03:37)

Rustin was arrested in Pasadena for sex perversion. Rustin left the League of Reconciliation. A psychiatrist advised him to separate his sexuality from his advocacy work.

Montgomery Bus Boycott (02:59)

Martin Luther King participates in a nonviolent protest. Alabama Public Service Commission President, C.C, Owen vows to enforce segregation laws. Rustin offered King advice.

Adviser to Dr. King (01:32)

When Rustin's Pasadena arrest came to light, he removed his counsel to preserve the movement.

Nuclear Disarmament (03:32)

Rustin led a protest to Algeria, where France was planning to test a nuclear bomb. The group was detained, and the test proceeded as planned.

Chicago Convention (03:13)

In 1960, Rustin was asked to plan protests at the Chicago Democratic Convention. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell used Rustin's Pasadena arrest to force him out of the movement.

Rustin Felt Betrayed (01:29)

King may have sided with Powell for political reasons, but Rustin felt personally betrayed by the lack of support.

Separation vs. Integration (02:06)

Rustin and Malcolm X debated Civil Rights tactics. Malcolm X thought separation would never work; Rustin wanted to show that Civil Rights are everyone's battle.

Planning the March (02:02)

A. Philip Randolph planned a March on Washington in 1941 to get work opportunities for blacks, but it was canceled. Rustin organized the 1963 march.

Not Backing Down (02:57)

Three weeks before the march, Strom Thurmond described Ruston's Pasadena charge. Ruston received full support from the activists, including King.

Master of Organization (02:32)

The March on Washington helped bring King and Rustin back together.

March on Washington (04:51)

See archival footage of the March on Washington; more than 200,000 participated.

Politics and Power (02:27)

The March on Washington brought Rustin into the spotlight.

Rustin's Stance on Vietnam (02:12)

To continue working with L.B.J. on Civil Rights, Rustin refrained from participating in the antiwar movement.

Rustin's Compromise (02:40)

Many activists saw Rustin's silence on Vietnam as compromising his ideals; others thought that embracing the antiwar movement risked what they had achieved for civil rights.

Marrying Civil Rights to Organized Labor (02:04)

Rustin brought King into a Memphis Sanitation Workers' strike which erupted in chaos. King wanted to return for a nonviolent strike.

Martin Luther King Assassinated (02:45)

The day after the second Memphis strike, King was assassinated. Rustin organized a memorial march for him the following day.

Violence in the Movement (03:22)

Violence appeared in the Civil Rights movement. Rustin condemned the black power movement for teaching hate.

Rustin Criticized (01:50)

Black Nationalists condemned Rustin because he sought to negotiate. Rustin was considered a radical by the political establishment.

Rustin's Activism (02:31)

Walter Naegle recalls meeting his partner, Rustin, and the work Rustin did in his later life with Russian Jews.

Rustin's Commitment (02:31)

Rustin never stopped working for justice and freedom for all people. In the last years of his life, he worked in the gay rights movement.

Credits: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (01:33)

Credits: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

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Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



On November 20, 2013, Bayard Rustin was posthumously awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Rustin was at most of the important events of the Civil Rights Movement—but always in the background. This film asks "Why?" It presents a vivid drama, intermingling the personal and the political, about one of the most enigmatic figures in 20th-century American history. One of the first “freedom riders,” an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the march on Washington, intelligent, gregarious, and charismatic, Bayard Rustin was denied his place in the limelight for one reason—he was gay.

Length: 84 minutes

Item#: BVL57866

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

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