The cast and crew from a new play at People’s Light about civil rights activist Bayard Rustin gathered in West Chester to gain a closer understanding of the historical figure and his work, writes Peter Crimmins for WHYY.
Led by local historian Penny Washington, who had met Rustin and has family roots dating back four generations, the crew was taken to key locations around the town that impacted Rustin as he grew up.
They visited the African Methodist Episcopal church on East Miner Street where Rustin’s grandparents were married and where the Bayard Rustin Inside Ashland play begins.
Additionally, she took them to the house of one of Rustin’s teachers, Mariah Brock, and the municipal building on East Gay Street, which was once the site of a segregated Black school that he attended.
“People comment on his speaking voice, but what I remember most when he spoke to you – I had the feeling that I had been truly seen,” said Washington.
Bayard Rustin Inside Ashland runs until June 12.
Read more about the play at WHYY.