February is Black History Month – Don’t Forget Our LGBTQ African-Americans

2007 US Commemorative Stamps Honoring Lesbian & Gay African-Americans © Frank H. Jump

2007 US Commemorative Stamps Honoring Lesbian & Gay African-Americans © 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.

Previously posted on February 1, 2008

7 responses to “February is Black History Month – Don’t Forget Our LGBTQ African-Americans

  1. Hi Mr. Jump,

    I came across your US Commemorative Stamps Honoring Lesbian & Gay African-Americans about a month ago. This was around the time that I took on the lofty task of starting a new organization. I would be honored if you would give us permission to use your picture as our logo. Feel free to emial me with contact info so I can tell you more about our organization.


    Milton Smith

  2. Dear Mr Jump,

    Thanks for the link. I felt quite inspired looking at the energy threaded through those pages.

    What is a School of Social Awareness? I am a Governor of a local primary school – http://www.oldfield-brow.com/index.htm (web page not quite up to your standard!) – and we have been discussing the introduction of a more moral/ethical code for the children?

    And last but not least, I have some grubby Great British Pounds to spend on a camera, your pictures look wonderful, would you recommend your camera?


  3. Dear Kathleen- Please call me Frank. Social Awareness started with the introduction of the Peacebuilding & Heartwood Ethics curriculae. Honesty, Courage, Love, Respect, Justice, Hope & Loyalty plus the Peacebuilders Pledge:

    I am a PeaceBuilder.

    I pledge. . .
    *To praise people
    *To give up put downs
    *To seek wise people
    *To notice and speak up about
    hurts I have caused
    *To right wrongs
    *To help others

    I will build peace at home, at school,
    and in my community each day.

    Our administrators, Ms. Fernandez and Ms. Snow have created a Culture of Peace in our school. Since then we have also become the Magnet School of Global & Ethical Studies. We would love to invite you to correspond with our students via our blog and Skyping!

    If possible, come to NY, see our Brooklyn oasis before the budget cuts and class sizes balloon into chaos, and we will go shopping for a camera which will cost you half at B&H Cameras. I have a Nikon-D40 and D80. SLR is the way to go. Smaller point and shoots for the kids are a must.

    All the best,

  4. PS: Great looking website! Ours is still under construction but the blog is up and running. Priorities! Oh well, it will get done one of these days.

  5. Hi Frank,
    Thanks for this, I have forwarded the info to Bob the Headmaster at Oldfield Brow School. A trip to NY is very tempting, although was more tempting a few months ago when our pound could buy two of your dollars! Will investigate the camera, and would love to accept your invitation to begin blogging!

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