Colman Domingo plays Bayard Rustin in the film, which comes 60 years after the historic March on Washington
Colman Domingo's latest role sheds light on a pivotal American civil rights leader.
On Monday, Netflix debuted the first trailer for Rustin, starring Domingo, 53, as activist Bayard Rustin, who served as one of the main organizers for the August 1963 March on Washington.
Rustin's teaser starts with Bayard sketching out plans for the event roughly eight weeks before the historic march, including him petitioning Martin Luther King Jr. to participate.
While some characters seem to believe Bayard is the best man for the job, he is presented as a controversial figure in the 1960s civil rights movement — particularly for living as an openly gay man during that time period.
When one character, played by Jeffrey Wright, suggests Bayard's presence at the event "could derail the fight for racial justice in this country by a good 10 to 15 years," the activist steers forward toward pulling off the event, which the National Archives identifies as "the largest demonstration for human rights in United States history."
A synopsis for the film calls Bayard Rustin "one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known."
"Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom," the synopsis adds.
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The film's teaser trailer comes on the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, which is best known for culminating in the famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The National Archives credits Rustin and a staff of 200 volunteers with organizing the gathering in just two months.
Rustin is directed by George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and written by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are executive producers, and the cast also includes Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Aml Ameen, Gus Halper, CCH Pounder, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Johnny Ramey, Michael Potts and Audra McDonald.
Rustin died in 1987 at age 75. His ability to organize protest efforts were apparent as early as his college days, when Wilberforce University expelled him for "organizing a strike to protest the poor quality of the cafeteria food," according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Washington Post reported in 2012 that Rustin was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II and was arrested during protests at least 25 times. He is credited with pulling off the March on Washington even as politicians like then-South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond publicly denounced him on the U.S. Senate floor in the weeks leading to the event.
Rustin is in select theaters in November and will begin streaming on Netflix Nov. 17.
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