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In the Spotlight: Black History Month
African-American and African Diaspora Art:
Early gay and lesbian African-American and African Diaspora artists did not openly declare their homosexuality, but in the late twentieth century, many artists began to explore issues of gender and sexuality.
Gay Male: The African-American gay male tradition in literature consists of a substantial body of texts, spans a period of nearly seven decades, and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Lesbian: Most African-American Lesbian Literature is as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.
* Glbtq African Americans frequently experience racism in predominantly white glbtq communities and homophobia in heterosexual black society, but the multiple oppressions faced by black glbtq people are now being recognized.
* Activist and author Keith Boykin (b. 1965) has committed his life to advancing the rights of the African-American and glbtq communities and to enhancing communication between them.
* One of the key African-American civil rights activists of the 20th century, Bayard Rustin (1910-1987) and his legacy have long been obscured because of embarrassment over his homosexuality and early involvement in the Communist Party.
Notable Birthdays, February 8-14
February 8: French philosopher Pierre-Daniel Huet, 1630; poet Elizabeth Bishop, 1911; actor James Dean, 1931; artist and scholar Harmony Hammond, 1944
February 9: Poet Amy Lowell, 1874; Quebecoise novelist Jovette Marchessault, 1938; novelist and poet Alice Walker, 1944
February 10: Tennis great William “Big Bill” Tilden, 1893; German playwright Bertolt Brecht, 1898; American writer Charles Henri Ford, 1910; songwriter and performer Peter Allen, 1944; French filmmaker Jean Daniel Cadinot, 1944
February 11: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, 1962
February 12: German statesman Philipp zu Eulenburg, 1857; film and theater director and designer Franco Zeffirelli, 1923; writer Jacqueline Woodson, 1964
February 13: Writer and activist James Barr (James Fugate), 1922
February 14: Make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin, 1962