Rustin’ Movie Ending Explained: “Rustin” is a Netflix biographical film on civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. The Rustin film isn’t a complete biography of Bayard Rustin, as it only shows one part of Rustin’s life. The movie keeps us from other things such as the Pasadena case. In the movie, the Pasadena incident was used against Rustin to stop his protest.
But what happened in Pasadena? The movie didn’t reveal it but just showed us some camera flashes and the bloody face of Bayard Rustin. You will get the answer to it in the article.
The film starts from the 1960s when Rustin persuades Dr. Martin Luther King to help them in a protest. Rustin wanted Luther to disrupt Congressman Adam Clayton Powell’s Convention in LA. Martin insisted at first but agreed to do it after Rustin’s motivation. Adam Powell didn’t like that Luther was helping Rustin, so he tells them to stop the march or he will tell everyone about Martin and Rustin’s relationship.
Which was a lie. Rustin then resigned from his position in NAACP. Rustin wasn’t going to leave his position; he thought Martin would defend him, but Martin didn’t want to take any risk at the time.
The scene then moves to 1963. Rustin went to a party where almost a fight broke out between two people on racial discrimination. One of them was Tom, Rustin’s white boyfriend. Tom wasn’t saying any racial stuff. According to Tom, not every white person is racist, and one man didn’t like it. That night Rustin thought of doing a non-violent protest like Gandhi.
He planned to do a two-day peaceful protest in DC with more than one hundred thousand people. He tells his plan to his young team, and other members also give him new ideas. The first day will be a normal protest, and the second day they will surround the White House. He goes to NAACP to ask for help. Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, didn’t approve the protest as it was very big and not possible in the US. Roy asks Rustin if Martin agrees to the protest. Rustin stopped contacting Martin after his resignation. Martin was very respectable, and NAACP workers agreed with him a lot.
In the meeting with NAACP people, he meets Elias Taylor. Elias Taylor was also gay, and the two started having an affair until Elias left Rustin to work in the church. Rustin goes to Martin’s house and tells him everything about the protest. Martin agrees to it and announces it on television. Martin goes to DC to meet with the DC police chief, and from the police chief, he finds out that Roy told the police about the protest being only for one day.
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Rustin talks with Martin and Roy in NAACP, where Martin tells Rustin to keep the protest for only one day. It will be easier for people to do a one-day protest rather than a two-day protest, and also for politicians to approve it. Rustin had to agree to it. He tells his team about it, and they change some plans. One of the team members suggests calling musicians to the protest to attract more people, which succeeds.
People against the protest didn’t like how it was going to happen, so some people reveal the old case of Rustin. The Pasadena case to defame the name of Rustin. Rustin thought Martin and other people wouldn’t support him, but they did. NAACP and Martin Luther King supported Rustin. The protest was successful, and more than two hundred thousand people joined the protest.
What happened with Rustin in Pasadena?
In 1953, police caught Rustin with two men in a car doing sexual activity. Homosexuality was an offensive crime in the 1950s, and he pleaded guilty to “sex perversion.”
What happened to Tom and Rustin’s Relationship?
In the movie, Tom caught Rustin and Elias’ affair. Tom still stayed with Rustin and didn’t leave him. In the movie, Rustin said sorry to Tom for his affair and not caring for Tom. Rustin tells Tom that he might love him in the future. Tom’s character may be a fictional character created only for the movie, as there is no evidence of him.
At the end of the movie, we got to know about Rustin living with Walter Naegle until his death in 1987.