Families and Equity Event: Rustin Screening

December 07, 2023

Did you know Bayard Rustin is part of MMFS’s origin story? You may know of Rustin as a giant of the civil rights, labor, and LGBTQ+ rights movements who served as chief executive of the 1963 March on Washington. But as a longtime member of the Fifteenth Street Meeting, a Quaker meeting house in Manhattan, Rustin was literally present at the creation of MMFS. The “Mary McDowell Center for Learning,” as it was called then, had to be accepted as a Quaker school. You can see Rustin in the photo below, as a speaker at the March 11, 1984 program announcing the formation of our school. 

We have maintained our connection with Bayard Rustin—after whom the middle school’s Rustin House is named—through Walter Naegle, his partner. Some of you may remember when Walter joined our civil rights trip in 2017, or when he was Commencement speaker in 2021. Walter joined us this week for a screening of the Netflix biopic Rustin.

Senior student Noble E. introduced the film and 10th grader Zuri D-L. and Simon L. asked questions of Walter, who shared his perspective on the film, the decade he and Rustin spent working together, and the ways in which he has honored Bayard Rustin’s legacy.


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