Bayard Rustin was a critically important figure in the history of the civil rights movement, yet he remains largely unknown. Rustin made major contributions to movements for peace, racial equality, economic justice, and human rights. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against the gay community, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor, Rustin’s eloquent voice has much to teach us today. — Nancy Kates
Late in 2002, a controversy erupted in Rustin’s hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania, over whether to name a new high school after Rustin. As a Quaker who refused to register for the draft during World War Two, Rustin was convicted on felony charges and spent three years in federal prison. Opponents say that in light of this record, Rustin is not a suitable role model for young people; supporters counter that Rustin’s civil disobedience places him in the tradition of Gandhi and Thoreau, and that his life demonstrates the power of a single individual to bring about profound change. I hope that Brother Outsider will enable viewers to reach their own conclusions about Rustin’s life and legacy. —Bennett Singer
Nancy Kates, Producer
Nancy D. Kates is a filmmaker and writer based in Berkeley, California. She is a graduate of Stanford University’s documentary film and television program, where she created a number of short films; her M.A. thesis film, Their Own Vietnam, received the 1995 Student Academy Award in Documentary. She is a former producer of Computer Chronicles, the PBS series, and has worked as a producer, writer, and story consultant on various documentary projects. Kates is a former staff writer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and also works as a writer, consultant, and futurist.
Bennett Singer, Producer
Bennett Singer is a New York-based filmmaker and book editor. He has served as producer/director or associate producer of a number of acclaimed documentary series, including the Emmy, Peabody, and duPont-Columbia-winning Eyes On The Prize II, With God On Our Side, and The Question of Equality. He served for eight years as executive editor of TIME Magazine’s education program. Singer is the editor of 42 Up, the companion book to Michael Apted’s famed documentary series; editor of the award-winning Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian; and co-author of The Student Body, a novel of suspense published by Random House. He is currently directing a feature-length documentary on America’s dysfunctional voting system.