FCS Community Celebrates Life of Bayard Rustin
The Friends’ Central community had an extraordinary time last week with visiting director and producer Bennett Singer. Singer presented his award-winning documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin
, which has gained notoriety nationally and internationally over the years for depicting the life of the Quaker and political and civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin.
Singer visited both the Middle/Upper and Lower School campuses during his two days here in Philadelphia.
On Monday during the Faculty In-Service day, the film was followed by a series of faculty-led workshops expounding upon the ideas presented in the film, ones of diversity, inclusiveness, and effective education. On Tuesday, Singer started off his day at the Lower School joining 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders for Meeting for Worship and Q&A following a brief presentation on the life of Rustin from Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Tanya Muse. Later in the day, Singer showed an abbreviated version of the movie to Middle and Upper School students, and Singer joined a number of Upper School classes where he engaged in conversations about the movie, the filming process, activism, and other topics the students were interested in hearing about.
Bennett Singer was extremely impressed by the curious and inquisitive nature of our students, and the School is very grateful for the messages that he and his documentary brought to Friends’ Central. They will not soon be forgotten. The story of Bayard Rustin is an empowering one – one that teaches individuals to stand up for what is right, no matter what the odds may be. In a quote by Rustin himself, he said, “My activism did not spring from being gay or from being black. Rather it is rooted fundamentally in my Quaker upbringing…These values are based on the concept of a single human family and the belief that all members of the family are equal.”