Into The Darkness: (Re)membering Black Queer Los Angeles
Neither the existing literature on queer Los Angeles nor the literature on Black Los Angeles have been able to fully contend with Black queer Los Angeles, but my intervention via oral history and archival research will tell some of these lesser known histories of Black queer social and political organizing. Constitutive to histories of Black Los Angeles are the histories of Black queer Angelenos, though scholarship on the subject is scant. Many accounts of Gay Los Angeles are centered upon specific geographic locations, like West Hollywood, rendering the experiences of Black queer folks invisible, as Black queer Angelenos have a different geographical center. Through encounters with the present I discover a past that is not closeted, but rather protected. This is not a linear history, but it is rather through disparate materials, events, and encounters in the present moment that I am able to reach back and tell stories across time and space. The names of Black queer folk and places are often not recognized by any official historical record, and are instead kept alive by local communities intent on naming and (re)membering themselves. My project explores this quest for (re)membrance within the Black queer communities of LA from 1972 to 2000.