Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

A Historic Night at Chester County History Center Rustin Feature Film

November 7, 2023
Written by: ercc-marketing

Special Screening in Partnership with Netflix

Rustin Screening CCHistoryCenter 00005

WEST CHESTER, PA – On Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, the Chester County History Center -CCHC- proudly hosted a special screening of the feature film Rustin, a profound portrayal of civil rights activist, and West Chester native, Bayard Rustin. The film focused on his work as the architect of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event, which marked a significant milestone in the History Center’s commitment to cultural education and community engagement, was met with an overwhelming response, filling the venue to capacity with distinguished guests and community members.
The special screening was the result of a unique collaboration between the Chester County History Center and Netflix, underscoring the History Center’s role as a prominent cultural hub in the region and its ability to attract partnerships with leading global entities.
In a cocktail hour held at the History Center prior to the screening, Conor Hepp, president of the Chester County History Center, welcomed attendees and introduced Mr. Walter Naegle, Bayard Rustin’s partner and executive director of the Bayard Rustin Fund. Mr. Naegle addressed a gathering of more than 300 community and cultural leaders, elected officials, friends of the press and media, special guests, and community members. Among those present were Alice Hammond, president of West Chester’s NAACP, Rev. Anderson Porter, Kenneth Winston, executive director of the Charles A. Melton Center, Maria Rustin, Ramon Rustin, Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste, Representative Christopher Pielli, and Senator Carolyn Comitta.
Guests also had the opportunity to visit CCHC’s special exhibit, Bayard Rustin’s Local Roots, which is open to the public until Saturday, November 11th and it is free with museum admission.
“The full house of guests at the Chester County History Center for the Rustin screening underscores the community’s enthusiasm for accessible, meaningful, and high-quality cultural experiences,” said Conor Hepp, president of the Chester County History Center. “Our partnership with Netflix enabled us to bring the story of Bayard Rustin, a pivotal figure in American history, to our audience, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the civil rights movement and the immeasurable contributions of our local figures to the National historical narrative.”

Event attendees expressed their enjoyment of the evening and the film:
“What a fabulous evening. Besides being a very interesting story to learn about, it was impressive to see the History Center leading in this national release. Well done!” Mark S.
“What a powerful, educational, and entertaining film. Colman Domingo was dynamic in the role. I so enjoyed the historical recreations of all the events that led up to the March on Washington. It was a great night, for sure!” Michell
The Chester County History Center extends its gratitude to Netflix, the Chester County Community Foundation, and West Chester University for their support of this event, as well as all the attendees for making the screening a resounding success.
The powerful story of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black civil rights leader who dedicated his life to racial equality and human rights, is in the spotlight thanks to this feature film produced by Higher Ground Productions and Netflix©. Colman Domingo plays the driving force behind the 1963 March on Washington in a film from DGA Award and three-time Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe. From the back rooms of power to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the new film tells the story of the civil rights movement from a never-before-seen perspective.

ABOUT THE CHESTER COUNTY HISTORY CENTER The Chester County History Center’s mission is to Link the Past to the Present, to Inspire the Future. Serving as a hub for cultural enrichment, experiential learning, and stewardship of collections, manuscripts, photographs, and other invaluable archival materials, CCHC preserves and shares Chester County’s diverse, noteworthy, and captivating stories with a wide range of audiences. Our organization aims to enhance community vitality and build historical literacy, the pillars of robust civic culture, through curated programming and resources that span more than 300 years.


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