Mary Jane Rathbun, Inventor of the Marijuana Brownie.

In the 1980s, Mary Jane was baking over 4,000 brownies a week for Californian AIDS patients after she realised it eased their suffering and depression. Despite multiple convictions, she remained an active marijuana advocate until the day she died.

Public reaction to the butch-fem couple [in the 1940s] was usually hostile, and often violent. Being noticed on the streets and the harassment that followed dominates the memories of both Black and white narrators. Ronni gives a typical description:

“Oh, you were looked down upon socially. When I walked down the streert, cars used to pull over and say, ‘Hey faggot, hey lezzie.’ They called you names with such maliciousness. And they hated to see you when you were with a girl. I was the one that was mostly picked on because I was identified. I was playing the male part in this relationship and most guys hated it. Women would look at me in kind of a confused looking [way], you know, straight women would look at me in kind of wonder.”

Piri remembers how the police used to harass her for dressing like a man:

“I’ve had the police walk up to me and say, ‘Get out of the car’. I’m drivin’. They say get out of the car; and I get out. And they say, ‘What kind of shoes you got on? You got on men’s shoes?’ And I say, ‘No, I got on women’s shoes.’ I got on some basket-weave women’s shoes. And he say, ‘Well you damn lucky.’ ‘Cause everything else I had on were men’s–shirts, pants. At that time when they pick you up, if you didn’t have on two garments that belong to a woman you could go to jail…and the same thing with a man…. They call it male impersonation or female impersonation and they’d take you downtown. It would really just be an inconvenience…. It would give them the opportunity to whack the shit out of you.”

Many narrators mention the legal specification for proper dress, although some said it required three pieces of female clothing, not two. If such a law did in fact exist, it did not dramatically affect the appearance of butches, who were clever at getting around it while maintaining their masculine image. The police used such regulations to harass Black lesbians more than whites, however.

Given the severe harassment, the butch role in these communities during the 1950s became identified with defending oneself and one’s girl in the rough street bars and on the streets. Matty describes the connection between her appearance and her need to be an effective fighter. The cultivated masculine mannerisms were necessary on the street:

“When I first came out in the bars it was a horror story. You know they say that you play roles. Yeag, back then you did play roles, and I was a bit more masculine back then than I am now. That was only because you walk down the street and they knew you were gay and you’d be minding your business and there’d be two or three guys standing on a street corner, and they’d come up to you and say, ‘You want to be a man, let’s see if you can fight like a man.’ Now being a man was the last thing on my mind, but man, they’d take a poke at you and you had to learn to fight. Then…when you go out, you better wear clothes that you could really scramble in if you had to. And it got to be really bad, I actually had walked down the street with some friends not doing anything and had people spit at me, or spit at us, it was really bad.”

[…] If the world was dangerous for butches, it was equally dangerous for the fems in their company, whom the butches felt they needed to protect. Some butches state that they did most of their fighting for their fems. Sandy describes how confrontational men could be.

“Well you had to be strong–roll with the punches. If some guy whacked you off, said, ‘Hey babe,’ you know. Most of the time you got all your punches for the fem anyhow, you know. It was because they hated you….’How come this queer can have you and I can do this and that….’ You didn’t hardly have time to say anything, but all she would have to say [is] ‘No,’ when he said, ‘Let’s go, I’ll get you away from this.’ He was so rejected by this ‘no’ that he would boom, go to you. You would naturally get up and fight the guy, at least I would. And we did that all the time, those that were out in their pants and T-shirts. And we’d knock them on their ass, and if one couldn’t do it we’d all help. And that’s how we kept our women. They cared for us, but you don’t think for a minute they would have stayed with us too long or something if we stood there and just were silent…. Nine times out of ten she’d be with you to help you with your black eye and your split lip. Or you kicked his ass and she bought you dinner then. But you never failed, or you tried not to…. You were there, you were gay, you were queer and you were masculine.”

–Elizabeth Kennedy and Madeline Davis, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community

4

The Parthenon of Books by Marta Minujín

100,000 forbidden books used to construct Parthenon replica on Nazi book-burning site.

Argentine artist Marta Minujín has used thousands of prohibited books to construct a replica of the Parthenon in Athens on a Nazi book-burning site in Kassel, Germany. Taking a stance against censorship, Minujín designed the Parthenon of Books to echo the classical Greek temple, which remains a major icon of the democratic Athenian polis. Metal scaffolding mimics the form of the temple, which is then covered in books held by plastic wrapping. All the books were donated by the public from a shortlist of over 170 titles that are either currently or formerly prohibited.

More American History - How the Hell Did We Manage to Found a Country?

- when Maria Reynolds divorced her husband, her attorney was Aaron Burr

- (Not technically American History but still adorable) when Lafayette returned to France in the middle of the war, Adrienne was so happy to see him she fainted

- Lafayette crying at the hanging of John Andrè

- Abigail Adams basically taking over the ship carrying her to Europe to clean in up and get everything in shape

- The Eggnog Riot of 1826

- When Lafayette negotiated a deal with the french for whale oil, the island of Nantucket all got together to make him a 500 pound wheel of cheese

- Thomas Jefferson trying to get a dead moose shipped to France to prove American animals were cooler

- Gouverneur Morris and the “whale bone in his dick” incident

- Oboes being called “haut-boys”

- George Washington riding in General Braddock’s campaign on a padded saddle because he had just recovered from disentary

- When Lafayette returned to America in 1824, a lady had gloves made with his face on them, and he said “a few graceful words words to the effect that he did not care to kiss himself”

- Deborah Franklin refusing to leave her house and arming herself with a gun when threatened by an angry mob

- Cornwallis missing out on capturing Jefferson as governor of Virginia by 10 minutes

- Joseph Warren showing up to a memorial of the Boston Massacre in a toga

- General Gage having to ask Hancock for help when he was occupying Boston after pissing him off earlier. Hancock refused

- Joseph Warren being a dramatic hoe 100% of the time

- Lafayette mcfucking dying at 4:20 am

- John Adams calling Edward Rutledge a peacock because he was young and southern and dressed very lavishly

- Henry Clinton calling himself “a shy bitch”

- Washington going down and jumping on the ice every morning during the siege of Boston to check the thickness for an invasion

- John Paul Jones being so passive aggressive that he responded to a failed broadside by a British ship with a single musket shot

- Silas Deane being such an inept ambassador that British spies knew what he was having for dinner before he did