A new film from the production company of the Obamas titled “Rustin” is the first in-depth cinematic portrait of the man, shown at left, who was a trusted adviser to Dr. King and key Civil Rights strategist, but whose role was overlooked due to his being an openly gay man.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — One of the often overlooked or overshadowed heroes of the Civil Rights Movement was Bayard Rustin. Though he was a trusted advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he was also an openly gay man in an era when oppression against gays was commonplace, and life was even tougher for a Black gay man.

Despite playing a key role in many Civil Rights marches and strategy and playing a major role in The March on Washington, Rustin has not received his just due.

The upcoming film “Rustin” hopes to correct that oversight. It will be screened next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, then debut in theaters November 3rd. It will make its Netflix appearance November 17.

The film stars Emmy winning actor Colman Domingo, getting his first leading role in a feature film. It is being directed by five-time Tony winning director George C. Wolfe and is coming from the Higher Ground production company of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michele Obama as part of their ongoing deal with Netflix.

Wolfe, in an article on the Netflix website, explained the personal importance of the film. “He (Rustin) is a role model for what it means to be an American, what it means to daily, moment-to-moment, commit to freedom, commit to possibility, commit to discovery, commit to passing on that which you know to other people,” Wolfe said. “Democracy is a muscle, and if you don’t exercise it regularly, it ceases to function.”

Others in the cast include Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Amina Ameen, Gus Halper, CCH Pounder, Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald.