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Life of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin highlighted in exhibit

Posted: February 3rd, 2014

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University’s Kenneth Shouldice Library Art Gallery is host to a traveling exhibit in February that celebrates Black History Month by focusing on the life of a visionary strategist and activist who has been called “the unknown hero” of the civil rights movement.

“Life of Bayard Rustin,” on loan from Chester County Historical Society in Pennsylvania, highlights the life of the American civil rights leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient most noted for coordinating the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” The exhibit contains a timeline, photos and panels on Rustin’s childhood, education, pacifism, and legacy. It also includes notebooks chronicling the controversy surrounding the naming of a high school in his honor and is accompanied by MP3 players and playlists that include excerpts from Rustin’s musical recordings.

The public is welcome at an open house for the traveling exhibit at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the gallery. During Wednesday’s open house, the 2003 film "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin," will be shown twice, at 6 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. in room 203 of the Shouldice Library. There is no admission fee.


Bayard Rustin (Associated Press)

Rustin (1912-1987) was raised by his Quaker grandparents in Chester County, Penn. The exhibit highlights how his Quaker roots influenced his commitment to social justice and pacifism. Though many only know Rustin as the leader of the March on Washington, he served as an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. and he is believed to have been instrumental in aiding King in developing his policies on non-violence. “Brother Outsider” chronicles these events.

Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and its national broadcasts on the PBS series P.O.V. and on Logo/MTV, “Brother Outsider” has introduced millions of viewers around the world to the life and work of Rustin. He was a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and the architect of the 1963 March on Washington. He dared to live as an openly gay man during the fiercely homophobic 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

The arrangements for the display were made by LSSU's Diversity Committee and Student Life office. The exhibit is open during regular library hours, seven days a week. Find out more about the Shouldice Library here. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315, tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Prof. Kimberly Muller, 635-2170, kmuller@lssu.edu


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