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African-American LGBTQ+ Periodicals

Cover, BLK, issue number 22 featuring poet, Audre LordeIn late 1969, almost six months after the Stonewall Riots occurred in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, the Gay Activists Alliance was founded in New York City. The group included the Black Lesbian Caucus, which later renamed itself Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc., credited as the oldest Black lesbian organization in the United States and known today as African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change. In 1974 the Salsa Soul Sisters were a collective of Black and Latina lesbians who offered alternatives to the gay and lesbian social scene which historically discriminated against lesbians of color.

The collective published several quarterly periodicals, including Azalea: A Magazine by Third World Lesbians, which ran from 1977 to 1983. Special Collections and Archives houses Volume 5, Number 2—one of the final issues of Azalea, which features unedited articles by visionary womanists such as Ruth Farmer, Becky Birtha, and Anita Cornwell, among others. Azalea’s editorial policy was " of NO EDITING: That is, not directing or changing a womon’s way or method of saying what she needs to a true way of respecting each womon's personal vision—and her right to voice it."

In addition to Azalea, Special Collections and Archives houses other LGBTQ+ periodicals published by and for people of color, including Black Lace and BLK. Both magazines were products of BLK Publishing Company, Inc., founded by Alan Bell, an African-American graphic designer. Black Lace focused specifically on erotic literature for Black lesbians and should not be confused with the British erotica series by the same name geared toward heterosexual female readers published by Virgin Books.

Unlike Black Lace and Azalea, BLK, which ran from 1988 to 1994, focused on bringing news stories of interest to African-American LGBTQ+ readers. BLK’s coverage originally centered on the LGBTQ+ scene of Los Angeles and eventually widened to include national and international issues, including the AIDS crisis happening worldwide. The magazine featured interviews with prominent Black LGBTQ+ activists, including poet Audre Lorde, filmmaker Marlon Riggs, and psychologist Dr. Marjorie Hill, among others, and provided a significant hard-news alternative to the entertainment-focused Black LGBTQ+ publications common at the time.

These periodicals are available for use by visiting Special Collections and Archives on the second floor of the library.

Cover, Black Lace, issue number 4 featuring Ginnita Glass
Table of Contents, Black Lace, issue number 4, 1992
List of Contributors to Black Lace, issue number 4, 1992
Cover,  Azalea, volume 5, issue 2, 1983
List of Contributors to Azalea, volume 5, issue 2, 1983
Letter from the editor, Azalea, volume 5, issue 2, 1983
Cover, BLK, issue number 3 featuring singer, J'ai, 1989
Major Events in Black Gay History Since Stonewall, excerpt from BLK, issue 7, 1989
Interview with filmmaker, Marlon Riggs, BLK, issue number 17, 1990
Cover, BLK, issue number 21 featuring psychologist, Dr. Marjorie Hill, 1990
Cover, BLK, issue number 22 featuring poet, Audre Lorde, 1990
Cover, BLK, issue number 28, 1991

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