Black and Queer in Philadelphia: A Conversation

By Hal T. RSS Fri, June 14, 2024

On Wednesday, June 26, at 6:00 p.m., the Newspapers and Microfilm Center is proud to present Black and Queer in Philadelphia — a program with Gary Hines in conversation with James Charles Roberts and Sappho Reynan Fulton. 

Gary Hines may be familiar to library-goers from the program he presented last February of the same name. James Charles Roberts is a Black gay man who came out in the 1970s and became a community leader. Sappho Reynan Fulton is a fighter for diversity and serves on Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee.


In The Life: A Black Gay Anthology


In the Life, the first anthology of poetry and prose by Black gay men featured an essay by Roberts. Here’s an excerpt from that essay in which Roberts responded in 1981 to a well-known radio personality who was hostile to gay people:

"A few months later, a young Black man was verbally abused by a Black woman who is the most controversial talk show host in Philadelphia. She is highly polemic and has been on the radio since the day after Marconi invented it. One day, she was lambasting gays and lesbians when D.J., the young Black man, called and took exception to her remarks. She then insulted his manhood and dared him to come to the station and face her on the air. He went to the station and was refused admittance. When he refused to leave, he was threatened with physical force. The following Tuesday, D.J. came to the PBG (Philadelphia Black Gays) meeting and asked us to respond on his behalf. I immediately asked for volunteers to help draft a letter to the talk show host."


Sappho created an introduction to herself on YouTube:


You can hear stories like these, and many more, by joining us in the Skyline Room on the Fourth Floor of the Parkway Central Library on June 26.

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