Rustin (2023) Movie Review – We Must All Be Troublemakers  

The recent biopic Rustin (2023 on Netflix) tells the powerful story of civil rights activist and socialist, Bayard Rustin, who spearheaded the March on Washington in 1963. Rustin is an often overlooked figure in the history of the Civil Rights Movement despite his significant role. The film gives us a look into his commitment to the struggle and ability to empower those around him.  

Rustin saw the limitations of the Democratic Party apparatus and the need for people to keep taking to the streets. Even as the N.A.A.C.P. leadership tried to ostracize Rustin from the movement because of his sexuality, he persisted organizing the March. He and dozens of other activists drew a crowd of an estimated 250,000 people in just eight weeks of organizing.

Rustin shaped the politics of many and activated thousands. He introduced Martin Luther King Jr. to the teachings of pacifist resistance and fought alongside him for the rights of Blacks. He formed relationships with the youth of the Black Power Movement and never stopped fighting for the liberation of all people. Rustin the movie reminds us of a person who believed in the power within all of us to end oppression and make change. We must all be like Bayard Rustin and activate ourselves and those around us to realize our collective power against racism, homophobia and all exploitation and oppression under capitalism.