“One can tell a great deal about a country by what it chooses to remember: by what graces the walls of its museum, by what monuments are venerated, and by what parts of its history are embraced.”
The above quote comes from Lonnie Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian and the first African American to hold the post, from an essay in The Atlantic.
The stories of African Americans have been taking a slow crawl out of darkness and are now taking up rightful space in museums, the annals of history, monuments, literature, and film. One such story is that of Bayard Rustin, the true architect of the 1963 monumental March on Washington. His is a story that had faded in the dark for decades and has finally come to light in the film RUSTIN. Some of the reasons for this obscurity are made clear in the film, but without his tenacity, vision, and pure energy, that fateful day, August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King, Jr., gave the "I Have A Dream" speech may not have had the enduring significance it does even now, 60 years later.
Bayard Rustin died on August 24, 1987, just shy of the 24th anniversary of the march.
The film RUSTIN, is directed by the venerable playwright, theater, and film director, George C. Wolfe and should be on your holiday watch list. Available now on Netflix.