Queering Black History Month

It is Black History Month…otherwise known as American History Month (reclaimed). For all of us white folks who ask the question, “why do [insert name of group here] get a month when we do not get a month?” I simply answer, “we have had 6228 months.” It has been my 40 years of experience that the primary historical narratives celebrated, retold, taught, enshrined, and even re-enacted are those of European-descent Americans. While revisionist historians (used here positively) work to reinterpret historical events from a range of vantage points and enliven Black historical narratives; if one concedes, as I do, that institutionalized systems of interlocking oppressions continue to operate at every level of culture, then pointedly identifying a month to highlight, celebrate, and educate about Black history appears current and relevant. Whew! That was a long sentence…you might want to read it again! Basically, I am saying institutionalized racism (among other ‘isms) still persists and given that, Black history month seems like a good idea to me.

But wait…to queer things up a bit, Black history should NOT be relegated to this one 28 day month. Right?! As, I mentioned previously, Black history is American history. Just as queer history is American history. Just as Latino history is American history. Just as immigration history is American history. Just as the history of all communities and vantage points is American history. It is a both/and kind of situation my friends. Because of racism, we need the month. But, in order to eradicate racism we need comprehensive, complex, non-essentializing historical narratives. Let’s get to it! Celebrate, decolonize, and transform!

Ok, now let’s get seriously queer (…as sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s  We Didn’t Start the Fire circa 1989…youtube it people).

An original song by jen, erica, and sasha at the Q.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/10238547" params="show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff7700" width="100%" height="81" ]

Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Queen Latifah, Miss Major, Essex Hemphill, Lee Daniels, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.

Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, RuPaul transforms views, James Baldwin, Richard Bruce Nugent, Lorraine Hansberry.

Little Richard, Wanda Sykes, Cathy Cohen (me likes), Wallace Thurman, Sherry Harris, Josephine Baker

Mabel Hampton, Bill T. Jones, Bessie Smith, Peter Gomes, Ruth Ellis oldest dyke (meant with power here), Angela Davis always fights!

We wrote the Fire!! It was always burning since the world’s been turning, but we wrote the Fire!! No we didn’t light it, but we can incite it!

Tracy Chapman, Sapphire, June Jordan, Pat Parker, Marlon Riggs, John Amaechi, Jean-Michel Basquiat

Johnny Mathis, Linda Villarosa, Sharon Farmer, Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacqueline Woodson, Barbara Jordan, Pomo Afro Homos

Glenn Burke invents High Five, Whoopie Goldberg brings it Live, Mary Edmonia Lewis, Claude McKay, Alice Walker, Paris Barclay

Tevin Campbell, Me’Shell N’DeGeOCello, Nell Carter, Charles Pugh, Alvin Ailey, Luther Vandross,  Jackie Walker

We wrote the Fire!! It was always burning since the world’s been turning, but we wrote the Fire!! No we didn’t light it, but we can incite it!

Gladys Bentley, Sheryl Swoopes, Darryl Stephens, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, Jewelle Gomez, Alvin Ailey, Soni Fashanu

Billy Curtis, Billie Holliday, Billy Porter on Broadway, Billy Strayhorn, Joe Beam, all the Billy’s in between

George Washington Carver, Cheryl Clark, Aviance, Sylvester, Kecia Cunningham, Maurice Jamal, Andre Leon Talley is the Vogue man, Jermaine Stewart, Miss J walk this way, we have so much more to say!

We wrote the Fire!! It was always burning since the world’s been turning, but we wrote the Fire!! No we didn’t light it, but we can incite it!

For more on Black History Month

The wiki list of LGBT African Americans, United Kingdom Black LGBT legends compiled by the Zuna Institute,

While Ms. Coretta Scott King has not labeled herself as lgbtq, she has certainly been an ally for lgbtq people across communities.

Check this out for a bit of a list and some quotes. http://gsanetwork.org/BlackedOUTHistory