Sixty years after the history-making March on Washington, the world is finally learning the truth behind the man responsible for bringing together 200,000 people to fight for equality: Bayard Rustin.
The march still marks the largest organized peaceful protest to ever take place in history. While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was used as the face and primary speaker for the march that then catapulted him into international adoration, it was Rustin, another civil rights activist, who sparked the idea and put together the task force to make it happen. Due to his sexuality as a proud Black man in the ‘60s, his work took a backseat, until now.
Colman Domingo stars in the film as Rustin himself. The film examines the friendship between Dr. King and Rustin on a deep level. A public misinformation campaign threatened to end their friendship for good until both men realized they needed one another to move the movement forward.
Watching the two men work collectively to make progress while exposing their personal friendship and how they loved and supported one another has never been seen before this film. It’s a journey Domingo says could be learned from.
“I think that they had such a beautiful brotherhood and it was pure,” he told Blavity’s Shadow and Act in a recent interview. “They had that intimate brotherhood that challenges I think, other men at times. I think they were very probably affectionate with each other and very, very, very comfortable in each other’s skin. I think that they were cut from the same cloth in many ways. Yet, I think especially in the ‘50s and ‘60s, you may not have seen that relationship between a cis-gendered Black man and a homosexual man. So I think they had a very beautiful, gentle relationship, actually, that was full of respect and love.
Though Rustin’s work isn’t widely known as it should be due to his sexuality and discrimination, he’s getting his flowers now– and Domingo couldn’t be happier about how Rustin expands the world’s knowledge of the Civil Rights icon.
“If, by the time this is on Netflix and seen in 238 countries, I want to make sure that no one ever says: ‘Who was Rustin?’” Domingo said. “And I feel like we did a great job and then it is the others that I want people to know more about to countless others – because they were just the hidden icons. They were just ordinary people who did extraordinary things.”
Rustin is now streaming on Netflix.