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Yoruba Richen recommends

The documentarian shares films, books and articles that further examine the intersection of the American gay and civil rights movements.

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    Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

    Passion River, 2010

    On November 20, 2013, Bayard Rustin was posthumously awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Who was this man? He was there at most of the important events of the Civil Rights Movement — but always in the background. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin asks why. It presents a vivid drama, intermingling the personal and the political, about one of the most enigmatic figures in 20th-century American history. One of the first 'freedom riders,' an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the March on Washington, intelligent, gregarious and charismatic, Bayard Rustin was denied his place in the limelight for one reason: He was gay.

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    California Newsreel

    California Newsreel produces and distributes cutting edge social justice films that inspire, educate and engage audiences. Founded in 1968, Newsreel is the oldest nonprofit social issue documentary film center in the country, the first to marry media production and contemporary social movements. They are a leading resource center for the advancement of racial justice and diversity, the study of African American life and history, and African culture and politics.

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    The National Black Justice Coalition

    The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is America’s leading national black LGBT civil rights organization. It is focused on federal public policy and leading black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia.

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    Tongues Untied

    Strand Releasing, 2008

    Marlon Riggs' essay film Tongues United gives voice to communities of black gay men, presenting their cultures and perspectives on the world as they confront racism, homophobia and marginalization. It broke new artistic ground by mixing poetry (by Essex Hemphill and other artists), music, performance and Riggs' autobiographical revelations. The film was embraced by black gay audiences for its authentic representation of style and culture, as well as its fierce response to oppression. It opened up opportunities for dialogue among and across communities.

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    Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100

    Our Film Works, 1999

    Ruth Ellis was born on July 23, 1899 in Springfield, Illinois, and she was thought to be the oldest known 'out' African American lesbian. The documentary offers a rare opportunity to experience a century of American social and civil rights history as lived by one inspiring woman. By example, Ruth Ellis shows us what is possible and what can be realized, if one not only lives long and ages well but also lives with pride. Winner of ten Best Documentary awards, including the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary, Living with Pride was directed by Yvonne Welbon and has been screened in over 150 venues around the world.

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    One More River to Cross

    Keith Boykin
    Anchor Books, 1998

    Against a backdrop of civil rights and the black experience in America, Boykin interviews Baptist ministers, gay political leaders, and other black gays and lesbians on issues of faith, family, discrimination and visibility to determine what differences — real and imagined — separate the two communities.

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    Love in action: Noting similarities between lynching then and anti-LGBT violence now

    Koritha Mitchell
    Callaloo, Summer 2013

    'Love in Action' draws parallels between racial violence at the turn of the last century and anti-LGBT violence today.

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    Civil Rights Act Brings Lessons for LGBT Activism

    Dan Fotou
The Desert Sun, May 9, 2014

    This article shows how the LGBT freedom struggle and the civil rights movement are inextricably linked.