Friday, August 09, 2013

A belated honor for the late Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin, an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, is among the 16 people announced Thursday as honorees who'll be receiving the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Also on this year's list: Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, country music icon Loretta Lynn, pioneer feminist Gloria Steinem, and a couple of folks named Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.) Unfortunately, his will be a posthumous award -- Rustin died in 1987. Still: Better late than never.

If you'd like to know more about this gentleman -- who, not incidentally, was openly and unashamedly gay at a time when even many nominally progressive activists of all colors were reflexively homophobic -- I'd advise you to take a look at Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, which is available for viewing at Netflix. You can read my Variety review of the prize-winning 2003 documentary here, and view a trailer for it here.

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