Last night we also went to the historic Lincoln Theater on U Street for Bayard Rustin & James Baldwin: Freedom Fighters and Friends, a multimedia theatrical performance highlighting the contribution that activists Rustin and Baldwin made to the civil rights movement. DCCAH partnered with the DC Commission on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday to make the documentary to celebrate the anniversary of the March on Washington; audience members who participated in 1963 stood up for a round of applause. We snapped Tony Robinson, pastor Michael Vanzant, ASALH’s Louis Hicks, and Elkton Commissioner Charles Hicks.
The powerful documentary was screened onstage and broken up by live music and dance numbers, along with readings from the works of Rustin and Baldwin. We loved the excerpt from Baldwin’s essay collection Nobody Knows My Name read by Keith Snipes, and Russell Lyles playing the sax to Some Day We’ll All Be Free.
The Washington Informer’s Denise Rolark-Barnes moderated the panel discussion, with DC Commission on the MLK Holiday’s Cynthia Brock-Smith, James Baldwin Literary Society founder Kevin Brown, and Southerners on New Ground co-founder Mandy Carter. The timing was perfect, as they discussed the lives and legacies of these civil rights icons and answered audience questions about nonviolent protest in the wake of Ferguson.