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) . .


An Epic Return to the Crystal Ball (Sat, June 4, Philly) FREE

4 06 2011

The community is buzzing about the return of the Crystal Ball–an effort by the COLOURS Organization to creatively incorporate HIV prevention messages within a free ball. The first Crystal Ball took place in 1997. Tonight’s return is historic.

Check out this great coverage by the Philadelphia Gay News.


Archivists Founder Discusses HIV Vaccine Awareness Day–May 18th

18 05 2011

Today marks HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. As many know, HIV/AIDS is still a public health concern and it affects and infects far too many. Watch this video, featuring Kevin Trimell Jones, as he talks about his work and interest in the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

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.

Joseph F. Beam: Reflections from the Heart of a Mother

17 08 2010

Courtesy of Philadelphia Gay News

In March 2007, Lee Carson, of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council, and Tyrone Smith and Kevin Jones, of the Archivists Society, sat down to speak to the mother of Joseph Beam, Ms. Dorothy Beam.

Joseph F. Beam (12/30/54-12/27/88) was born in Philadelphia, PA. A noted author and activists, he edited In the Life, the first Black gay anthology (published by Allyson Press in 1986).

According to the mother of Joseph Beam:

“There is some kind of fear in the black population that says they have to hide their gay sons. Religion frowns on this, but this is YOUR child… They ask: ‘Well how can you be so expressive and your son was gay?’ How can I not be? He’s my son!”

“…When Essex (Hemphill) came over to finish the book, he stayed at my house and got himself a job and an apartment… Essex wanted to finish the book because he loved Joe…one of the things Joe wanted was for gay people to be gay people. Joe’s books speak for themselves. When he wrote his books, there weren’t that many black gay books out. He would have written more but God called him to glory. But I thank Essex for coming over to finish it.”

“They say to pray for the gay sons. I don’t have to pray for God to change my son because that’s how he made him. If I’m going to pray for anything, I’m going to pray for God to change me into a white woman with blond hair.”

Dorothy Beam
March 24, 2007