Late on Tuesday evening, October 11, 2011, after a GLAA meeting, I had the unhappy duty to report the death of gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. It was National Coming Out Day.
His legacy continues.
President Obama speaks at a reception for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House.
For instant refutation of Mr. Miller, google "lynching" and click on Images. Warning: you will see horrifying photos of America's past.
Why no major Martin Luther King artifacts will be at the new African American history museum https://t.co/J9DduYw4j2— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 12, 2016
One of the saddest legacies of the civil rights era is that Dr. King's children have never recovered from the awful day in 1968 when their daddy was taken from them. They have fought not only with his closest friends and associates, like Harry Belafonte and Andrew Young, but with each other. One can only pray for them to find peace and grace.
Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:
Wow, as if his disingenuous speech to the 'African American' community wasn't enough, now we see his staff, priming the pump for the racists. It's pretty bad.
Gee, how can you resist a pitch like this: Your schools are crap, you live in squalor, you have no jobs and your kids are in prison! Let's be honest: this is not really aimed at black folks. No one with more dignity than Stepin Fetchit would buy that. Since he is so ignorant, someone should sit him down and tell him about Black Wall Street. About generations of struggle. About everyone from Nat Turner to Clementa Pinckney. About Madam C.J. Walker, Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Katherine Johnson. About the self-educated ex slave who became the most powerful speaker in our history. About the courage and discipline that sustained a bus boycott 60 years ago for more than a year despite threats and bombings. Tell him what Barack Obama has had to overcome to function as president. Tell him about Oak Bluffs. If he didn't treat African Americans like exotica, if he actually met with and listened to them, he might have picked up some of this stuff.
Someone give Rudy warm milk and put him to bed.
It became official yesterday, August 15: Vincent Orange is gone from the D.C. Council. This City Paper article from 2010 shows some of the reasons why I consider this good news. In addition to having called his rival mayoral candidates in 2006 morally unfit for supporting marriage equality (he lost badly in that race), he falsely took credit for reforms at Pepco (and wrongly invoked my name while doing so).
Orange did some good things, though one bill he moved for us he only did after another Councilmember (I believe it was Jack Evans) held up one of his bills until Orange marked up the bill we wanted. Orange finally decided to support marriage equality after we had won. But he was the least trustworthy member of the Council, and his self-promotion was endless and exhausting. Democratic At-Large nominee Robert White, who is expected to be appointed to the vacant seat on an interim basis, will be a breath of fresh air on the Council.
Happy 55th birthday to the finest president of my lifetime.
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall...." - Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013
Opinion | What we owe Elie Wiesel https://t.co/e4gs4JVjVq— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) July 18, 2016
I don't know how I missed this a couple of weeks ago. Former GLAA president Craig Howell writes about the key role the late Elie Wiesel played in ensuring that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum would include all the victims of the Holocaust, including gay folk.
Navy to Name Ship After Gay Rights Activist Harvey Milk https://t.co/357XoesOQP— USNI News (@USNINews) July 28, 2016
A fine honor for Harvey Milk, who served in the Navy. As our friend Michael Bedwell says, "He continued to wear his Navy belt with its Master Diver insignia buckle literally until his dying day."
The In Memoriam video that was shown at the Democratic National Convention on July 27 included former Gay Activists Alliance member Tom Chorlton. Others familiar to Washingtonians who were included are former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, civil rights veteran Lawrence Guyot, and civil rights and HIV/AIDS activist Mario Cooper.
153 years ago on this day, the Battle of Gettysburg was underway. Eleven years earlier on July 5th in Rochester, what is possibly the greatest oration in American history was delivered by an escaped and self-taught slave named Frederick Douglass. His main competitors in the oratory category were named Martin and Abraham. I am attaching a passage from what has come to be known as the Fourth of July speech. Things have improved since 1852; on the other hand, the catalog of American crimes against peoples of color at home and abroad, just since 1940, is a long one.
Recalling the rebuke from Douglass so long ago is a useful counterbalance to the usual Independence Day rah-rah stuff. And it reminds us that many generations struggled so that we could continue the struggle today, in Martin's words, to make our nation live out the true meaning of its creed--a creed written in 1776 by a slave owner. The shame and the struggle, inextricably interwoven, are part of our nation's DNA.
An excellent speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I fell in love with this guy when I was 8. This is one of my favorite clips. Profound defiance delivered in the most amicable tone. His voice was lost to Parkinson's Disease years ago, but it lives on in recordings and in our memories. He is still remarkable. He risked everything to stand up for his beliefs and to resist serving in the Vietnam War. That made him a hero to me and many others, even as it stirred hate in some people and brought the wrath of American government down upon him. He was ultimately vindicated. His unique voice carried his influence far beyond the precincts of boxing.
My Blade column this week uses the president's historic visit to Hiroshima as a jumping-off point for a consideration of his ground-breaking approach to foreign policy.
Please join us at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, June 1 in the Martin Luther King Library for a community discussion on LGBTQ social justice and rights. It is an interesting panel of participants. GLAA President Rick Rosendall will moderate.
A powerful moment in Hiroshima as our president embraces one of the Hibakusha, a survivor of the atomic blast 71 years ago. My heart soars. I am so proud of this man, who with simple grace leaves the haters in the dust and honors the better angels of our nature. He enlarges himself and us.
The haters on the right are going ape. It is a reminder of the despicable alternative we are faced with this year. We can defeat the haters if we simply stop making excuses and vote. 71 years are long enough to cling to the bitterness of the past. If we do not heal, we make a hollow mockery of Yad Vashem's "Never Again, Never Forget."
Top LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was arrested in October 1964 for sex with a man in a YMCA bathroom in Washington. Above is a scene in the movie All the Way referencing it, in which President Johnson makes a dig at FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Below is a recording of Johnson talking by phone to his wife Lady Bird about the scandal, which occurred a few weeks before the 1964 election. The conversation starts about 45 seconds into the tape. (Hat tip: Mark Thompson)
Lawyer who helped take down Prop 8 joins fight against NC's anti-LGBT law https://t.co/HB5gBNJCEq— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer) May 18, 2016
The Human Rights Campaign goes the celebrity route again. HRC President Chad Griffin, then leader of American Foundation for Equal Rights, previously brought Olson in, along with Democratic attorney David Boies, for the court fight against California Proposition 8, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. Olson and Boies ran up more than $6 million in legal fees in that case, despite the fact that other attorneys working in marriage equality cases often worked pro bono. So how much is HRC going to pay Olson?
It should be noted, by the way, that the Perry case did NOT win the nation marriage equality. It was sent back to a lower court by SCOTUS in 2013 for lack of standing. The 2013 SCOTUS overturn of the discriminatory federal definition of marriage in DOMA was in another case, United States v. Windsor, where Edith Windsor's attorney Roberta Kaplan argued before the high court. The ruling that granted civil marriage equality throughout the country came with Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. The plaintiffs in that case were represented at oral argument by civil rights lawyer Mary Bonauto and Washington, D.C. lawyer Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.
Here is the 1964 LBJ campaign ad featuring actor William Bogert, a Republican, expressing his concerns about the extremism of Barry Goldwater. Rachel Maddow had Bogert, now 80, on her show last night. He readily applies to Donald Trump the concern he expressed 52 years ago about Goldwater. You can find the Maddow Show video here, but that site does not provide the embed code.
Andrew Sullivan has a brilliant essay in New York Magazine on the danger posed by Donald Trump. It is wise and sobering. I highly recommend it.
I duly observed the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death yesterday by reading some Shakespeare, but I wasn't in a blogging mood. This piece is interesting. More from the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library here.
My Blade column this week looks at the upcoming British referendum on exiting the European Union, and finds lessons for the Colonies.