Remembering Baldwin and Rustin

Library Takeout

Remembering Baldwin and Rustin

African-American Elders of the LGBTQ+ Movement

Pride Month is always a time to remember the elders of the LGBTQ+ community and recognize the fight they lead for a world where all people could live free, full lives no matter what their gender identity or sexual orientation. In 2020, it is particularly important for us to remember the lives of LGBTQ African-Americans who came before us. For Pride 2020, take some time to learn about Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin, gay Black men whose legacy of wisdom, truth and leadership continue to be a model for us all. Below are a film and a recording from the library as well as some resources from our online archive DigDC

Though not properly acknowledged for much of his life, Bayard Rustin was a key member of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s circle and a lead organizer on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin explores Rustin's activism as well as the ways that being a gay man shaped his life. Watch the movie in our Kanopy movie collection and use these discussion questions to reflect on his life. (Click Log-in).

James Baldwin was the iconic American writer who not only left us with a rich body of literary writing but also an unflinching analysis of racism in the United States and its effects on all of us. We were lucky in 2019 to be able to host Jason Reynolds and Ibi Zoboi at our Anacostia Neighborhood Library discussing Baldwin's literary legacy with D.C. bookseller Hannah Depp Oliver and the documentary I am Not Your Negro. Listen to the discussion between Reynolds, Zoboi and Depp Oliver and then watch the documentary, also in our Kanopy collection (click Log-in). 

Round out your time with these movies by diving into the Women in the Life archive in our DigDC online archival collection. Published here in D.C., the magazine focused on the lives of Black lesbians here in D.C. and around the country. We are proud to have this publication in our collection.