Lesbian & Gay African-Americans – Tribute to Black History Month – U.S. Commemorative Stamps – Frank H. Jump

Lesbian & Gay African-American US Commemorative Stamps - Frank H. Jump
© Frank H. Jump

Audre Lorde – Audrey Geraldine Lorde was born on February 18, 1934 in New York City. She decided to drop the “y” from the end of her name at a young age, setting a precedent in her life of self determination. She was the daughter of Caribbean immigrants who settled in Harlem. She graduated from Columbia University and Hunter College, where she later held the prestigious post of Thomas Hunter Chair of Literature. She was married for eight years in the 1960’s, and had two children — Elizabeth and Jonathan. Lorde was a self described “Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. However, her life was one that could not be summed up in a phrase.¹

James Baldwin – James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – November 30, 1987) was an American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist, and civil rights activist. Most of Baldwin’s work deals with racial and sexual issues in the mid-20th century United States. His novels are notable for the personal way in which they explore questions of identity as well as for the way in which they mine complex social and psychological pressures related to being black and homosexual well before the social, cultural or political equality of these groups could be assumed.²

Bayard Rustin – (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and earlier, and principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He counseled Martin Luther King, Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance. Rustin was openly gay and advocated on behalf of gay and lesbian causes in the latter part of his career. A year before his death in 1987, Rustin said: “The barometer of where one is on human rights questions is no longer the black community, it’s the gay community. Because it is the community which is most easily mistreated.”³

Barbara Jordan – Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American politician from Texas. She served as a congresswoman in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979. Jordan was a lesbian with a longtime companion of more than 20 years, Nancy Earl; Jordan never publicly acknowledged her sexual orientation, but in her obituary, the Houston Chronicle mentioned her longtime relationship with Earl. After Jordan’s initial unsuccessful statewide races, advisers warned her to become more discreet and not bring any female companions on the campaign trail.


3 responses to “Lesbian & Gay African-Americans – Tribute to Black History Month – U.S. Commemorative Stamps – Frank H. Jump

  1. With California lifting the ban on gay marriage, I am very interested in your opionion as to whether or not the right for gays to marry is a fight that should be part of the African-American agenda. Please feel free to comment at: http://sojournersplace.blogspot.com/2008/06/is-gay-marriage-right-fight-for-african.html

    Much Obliged, SjP

  2. I can’t see any group who has suffered from inequities looking the other way on this issue. The level of homophobia in the African-American community is palpable. Rallying for same-sex marriage can only show support for those within the AA community who seek equal protection for their relationships. Leaders within the community need to tackle the issue of homophobia which has already had a negative effect on the community when it comes to AIDS.

  3. Pingback: February is Black History Month - Don’t Forget Our LGBTQ African-Americans « Fading Ad Blog by Frank H. Jump