Across The Margin: The Podcast celebrates the remarkable life of Bayard Rustin, a man who had a monumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, through an interview with documentarian Nancy Kates…
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This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Nancy Kates, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the groundbreaking documentary, Brother Outsider: The Life Of Bayard Rustin. This pivotal work was instrumental in introducing a broader audience to the life of Rustin — an openly gay Black civil rights leader and a driving force behind the March on Washington. Nancy also produced and directed the feature-length HBO documentary Regarding Susan Sontag, about the late essayist, novelist, director and activist. Her other film credits include Castro Cowboy, a short film about the late Marlboro model Christen Haren who died of AIDS in 1996, Joining the Tribe, Married People, and Going to Extremes.
During his 60-year career as an activist, organizer, and an angelic “troublemaker,” Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American Civil Rights Movement. His passionate belief in Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence drew Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to him in the 1940s and 50s. In 1963, Rustin brought his unique skills to the crowning glory of his civil rights career: his work organizing the March on Washington, the biggest protest America had ever seen. But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him again and again as a “Brother Outsider.” Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin combines rare archival footage — some of it never before broadcast in the U.S. — with provocative interviews to illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change. Rustin’s monumental role as a central strategist in the Civil Rights Movement and his unwavering stand for peace and justice casts him as a towering figure in U.S. history. His narrative, particularly as an openly gay advocate in perilous times, has found a renewed resonance in our current socio-political environment. And Nancy’s documentary brings back to life a man who profoundly influenced the course of the civil rights and peace movements.
In this episode host Michael Shields and Nancy Kates dig deeply into just how pivotal a figure Bayard Rustin was in the Civil Rights Movement while questioning why he often remained outside the scope of notoriety as a “Brother Outsider.” They discuss what it was like for Rustin to be openly gay in America in the 1960s, his on-and-off relationship with Martin Luther King, how he brought the March on Washington to life, and so much more.