Did You Know...?

... that Bayard Rustin was a master strategist and tireless activist who is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests in the US. 

... that his bio is especially of interest to LGBT Americans, highlighting the contributions of an out gay man to end official segregation in America? 

... that in 1944, Rustin, a Quaker and a conscientious objector refused to register for the draft and served 26 months in jail?

... that Rustin's activism began as early as high school when he was arrested for sitting at a segregated lunch counter in his home town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. 

... that in 1944, Rustin, a Quaker and a conscientious objector refused to register for the draft and served 26 months in jail?

... that in 1947, Rustin participated in the Journey of Reconciliation--a two week pilgrimage thru Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky--in which 16 activists (8 black, and 8 white) use nonviolent direct methods to employ direct action methods to test the 1946 Supreme Court decision that ruled that segregation is unconstitutional on interstate buses.  They faced angry mobs.

The Bayard Rustin Project

On June 24, That Uppity Theatre Company partnered with the Missouri History Museum on an exciting program about the late great civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, the principal architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington.

We offered different organizations the opportunity to have a free information table at our reception. Some of the organizations that will have tables include: NCCJ-STL, Growing American Youth, Charis, Promo , St. Louis Gender Foundation , ADL , Organization for Black Struggle, KDHX, SAGE, Stonewall Democrats, St. John UCC, Liberation Christian Church, Diversity Awareness Partnership,  A Call to Conscience, Urban League Young Professionals, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, KWMU, Ethical Society of Saint Louis, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, That Uppity Theatre Company, Diversity Awareness Partnership.

This event was held at the Missouri History Museum on Monday, June 24th. The evening began at 6 PM with a reception with informational tables from various community organizations, and the film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin was screened in the Des Lee Auditorium.

Rustin is a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement, but most people do not know about him. "During his 60-year career, Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil liberties movement, including the March on Washington in 1963.  But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him as a "brother outsider." 

A Q&A with Walter Naegle, Rustin's partner who is based in NYC and is executor of the Bayard Rustin estate, and St. Louis-area activist and writer/director Joan Lipkin followed the screening.  The evening concluded with a special short tribute performance of OUT FROM THE SHADOWS, A Tribute to Bayard Taylor Rustin by A Call to Conscience featuring Jerome Davis, Peggy Calvin, Dennis Lebby, Mark Albrecht, and directed by Fannie Lebby.