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Queer Power Hour

Black gay pioneers overlooked by history: Bayard Rustin and Marlon Riggs

 Bayard Rustin and Marlon Riggs
Bayard Rustin (on the left) and Marlon Riggs (on the right, front)

This week, we are sharing stories about two Black gay men who have been overlooked by history: Bayard Rustin and Marlon Riggs.

  • Until recently, most people had never heard of Bayard Rustin, who was instrumental in organizing both the March on Washington and the Freedom Rides. Now, he is the subject of an Academy-award nominated film. The piece featured on this show originally aired on State of Re:Union with Al Letson in 2016.
  • Documentary pioneer Marlon Riggs created films like Tongues Untied that continue to shape how Black people — and Black gay men in particular — are portrayed on screen. This Terry Gross interview aired on Fresh Air nearly 30 years ago at the time of Riggs' death due to complications from AIDS.
David Boyer is KALW's Director of Programming and former Managing Editor of KALW News. He is also the producer/host of the Murrow Award winning podcast THE INTERSECTION, which looks at our changing cities, one street corner at a time.