Bayard Rustin Centennial Planning Meetings in Philly, April 4

1 04 2012

This is a great way to celebrate our local and national histories:


From: Mandy Carter, Bayard Rustin Centennial Project of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and Candice Thompson, William Way LGBT Community Center

Re: Invitation to Bayard Rustin Centennial Planning Meetings

Wednesday, April 4, 2012. 12pm-1:30pm & 6:30pm-8pm

William Way LGBT Community Center. Philadelphia, PA

Save the date! Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bayard Rustin Centennial Planning Meetings

Afternoon Meeting. 12:00 pm – 1:30pm

Evening Meeting. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

William Way LGBT Community Center Ball Room

1315 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: 215-732-2220


March 17, 2012 marked the 100th birthday of the late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (1912-2012).

Bayard Rustin was born March 17, 1912 in West Chester, PA. While perhaps best known as the architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. It was also his remarkable 60-year movement career that not only included his leadership in the civil rights movement but also the movements for economic justice and peace here in the U.S. and internationally—all the while being a Black openly gay man.

In preparation to engage Pennsylvania’s communities and campuses for the year-long series of Bayard Rustin’s centennial events there will be two planning meetings held at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia, PA.  One in the afternoon and one in the evening to accommodate people’s schedules for attending. Or, folks are welcome to attend both.

Please RSVP to Candice Thompson, Director of Center Services, and indicate which of the two meetings that you are attending.  Or, folks are welcome to attend both. Can’t make the meetings but are interested in staying in touch? We’ll make sure to add you to the contact list.

Founded in 2003, the National Black Justice Coalition is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.  Our mission is to eradicate racism and homophobia.

The Bayard Rustin Centennial Project of the National Black Justice Coalition is collaborating with Walter Naegle, Bayard’s surviving partner and Executor/Archivist of the Estate of Bayard Rustin.  And, with Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer, co-producers/co-directors of the award-winning film “Brother Outsider-The Life of Bayard Rustin”. (Bayard Rustin: March 17, 1912- August 24, 1987) . .


Collector Shares SBC Article on Bawabu, SGL Symbol

3 09 2010

A local Philadelphia collector of Black LGBT history shared a copy of an article in SBC Magazine on the Bawabu. The Bawabu was first displayed June 28, 1998 at a community debate of homosexuality in the Black community in Los Angeles, CA.

Olu Kwasi Osei created the symbol to reflect the “self-identification of Afrika-centered Black conscious homosexuals.”

The article reports that there were brochures at the event that described the symbol and its purpose. I would love to get a copy of one of those brochures!

The brochure described that “the word Bawabu is taken from the Kiswahili language and means “gatekeeper”, and that it pays “homage to our same-gender-loving ancestry”.

Same Gender Loving “ancestors were honored or recognized by their societies as being the ‘gatekeepers’ to the ethereal world. It was believed that this spiritual world could be entered through a series of doors or ‘gates.’ The unique ability to grant entrance into the spiritual world was derived in part, from the ‘gatekeepers’ sexual orientation.”

Article by Leland Gale for SBC Magazine, Dec. 1999

The article notes that Olu, the creator, “forbids” any organization using lesbian and gay in its name from using the symbol, “or the reference to they symbol as the ‘Black gay and lesbian symbol.’

Still, this is an important part of “our” history and worthy of sharing.

FTA: Slideshow of Photographs from the Archivists Society’s Collection

25 08 2010

FTA: Can you identify this photograph?

20 08 2010
Black Gay Youth at Beach, Aug 1964

Black Gay Youth at Beach, Aug 1964

FTA: Art Worthy – More than a Party Flier?

18 08 2010

Paradise Alley? Shampoo First Fridays? Heat on Sundays? Perhaps you’ve seen these fliers. Over the past ten year, Chris Hunter (aka Simply Christopher) has produced social events and parties for Philadelphia’s LGBT community. And if you’ve seen his promotion fliers, you know the art work of Spenser Michaels. I recently walked by a community center in West Philly branding his art.

Here is a small sample of party fliers (side 1) from Simply Christopher Events with the artwork of Spenser Michaels.

Introduction: The 5 W’s of The Archivists Society

17 08 2010

Thank you for visiting the Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia.  Please visit of us weekly to view items from our standing collection and for information on our upcoming events. The 5 W’s of the Archivists Society shares more about us, our work, and ways that you can get involve. Please enjoy.

Who: In some ways, we are all archivists. We collect information. We store important dates. We place photographs in scrap books. We maintain our social and sexual networking sites.

The Archivists Society attempts to bring together individuals who have some level of interests in archiving different aspects of Philadelphia’s Black LGBT history.

What: The Archivists Society provides opportunities and lessons on how to create, exhibit and preserve items of historical significance.

To this date, the Archivists Society has collected over 950 artifacts: photographs, writings, period clothing, trophies, films and videos, songs, organizational fliers, etc.

When: As an ambitious goal, the Archivists Society attempts to document the presence of Black LGBT communities and their contributions from the beginning of Philadelphia’s history to its future.

The Archivists Society was founded in March 2007.

Where: Philadelphia has a rich history. Beneath its layers are the remarkable contributions of its Black LGBT communities, making Philadelphia an important site for these types of historical explorations.

Since the inception of the organization, it has exhibited these important artifacts in seven different venues in Philadelphia.

The Archivists Society’s standing collection is stored in a private location in Philadelphia, PA. The immediate goal is to find a location, place, or organization to safely and effectively house its collection.

Why: The health and vitality of a community is often told through its history. Before this history is told by others, its must be written by the community. The Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia attempts to engage individuals in this important process.