black riot

Black LBGTQ History Icons

Marsha P. Johnson

  • A leader of the Stonewall Riots. According to several eyewitnesses, Marsha was the one who “really started it”. She was “in the middle of the whole thing, screaming and yelling and throwing rocks and almost like Molly Pitcher in the Revolution or something”
  • Dedicated her life to activism:
    • Co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries)
    • Ensured that the young drag queens, trans women and other street kids on Christopher Street were fed and clothed. Marsha also housed them whenever she could. 
    • In the 1980s, she was an activist and organizer in ACT UP. 

Stormé DeLarverie

  • Also a leader in the Stonewall Riots - has been identified as the “butch lesbian that threw the first punch” against the police officers.
  • Several eye-witnesses recollections also recognize her as the cross-dressing lesbian that yelled “why don’t you guys do something” at the bystanders that evoked the reaction from them that helped make Stonewall a defining moment in history.
  • Unofficially worked at gay bars who otherwise couldn’t afford security.

Bayard Rustin

  • Was a leading strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement between 1955-1968:
    • The formidable behind the scenes figure of the civil rights movement who organized the March on Washington
    • Through his influence, the civil rights leadership adopted a non-violent stance.
    • Is and was often overlooked in African-American history because of the public’s discomfort with his sexual orientation.
  • Supported LGBTQ rights and movements.
  • Was posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

  • Another leader in the Stonewall Riots.
  • Has been involved in community efforts since 1978. She has worked at local food banks, provide services for trans women suffering from addiction or homelessness. During the AIDS epidemic she also provided healthcare and funeral services.
  • Is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, working to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under a prison-industrial complex.

Alvin Ailey

  • At the young age of 22, Alvin AIley became Artistic Directer for the Horton Dance Company where he choreographed as well as directed scenes and costume designs.
  • Formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 but continued to choreograph for other companies.
  • Ailey’s signature works prominently reflects his Black pride.
  • Is credited for popularizing modern dance. 
  • Was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Feel free to add anyone I’ve missed!

7

Run the Jewels drop some major truth a year after Ferguson

“Riots work.” At least, that’s according to Run the Jewels. In a video exclusive to the BBC, Killer Mike discussed how the events that unfolded on the streets of Ferguson last year forever changed the city for the better. And Ferguson’s own law enforcement actually agrees.

6

HAPPY RIOT GRRRL DAY 2015!

After my recent post about  Boston mayor declares April 9 ‘Riot Grrrl Day’ in honor of Kathleen Hanna, a reader commented on issues of racism and exclusion in the original movement, which Kathleen Hanna addresses in this interview.

As she says in that quote,  “At the same time, when people say riot grrrl was all white, that’s not true. In places like New York and California, that definitely was not the case. I don’t want to erase the women of color who were very much a part of shaping the identity of riot grrrl, and who questioned riot grrrl as a very white movement, and in that way shaped it, because clearly they cared enough to critique it.”

Feminist punks, here are more Riot GRRRL posts on Profeminist (all the pictures above are from earlier posts): http://profeminist.tumblr.com/tagged/riot-grrrl

4

Did You Know…?

Did you know that the now-famous black & white footage of the Watts Riots was filmed by two Black animators, Floyd Norman and Leo Sullivan? S’true!

Not only that, the camera they used belonged to one of Norman’s bosses at Walt Disney Animation – Roy E. Disney! And it’s the same camera that was once used to shoot footage for Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures!

I learned this amazing fact from the recently released documentary, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life. It’s a great film, detailing the life of Disney’s first Black animator. It’s also incredibly candid – no punches are pulled when discussing Norman’s long career in and out of the Mouse House. Highly recommended! Click here to watch it streaming on Amazon.