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"Hidden In The Open" Photo Essay Captures a Rarely Seen Slice of Gay Black History Spanning 150 Years

Posted by Billyjam, January 31, 2012 08:08am | Post a Comment
"Hidden in the Open: A Photographic Essay of Afro American Male Couples from the Distant Past" is a most
unique slice of gay Black history engagingly told through a recently-presented collection of photos of black male couples over a century and a half.  The collection was carefully complied from the archives of historian Trent Kelly who researched and collected Hidden in the Open's 146 rare vintage photographs of gay Black couples and some that include their (loving) families. One of the photos featured is even included as the lead photo in Job O Brother's Black [gay] History Month Amoeblog recently posted.

These historic photographs, spanning a wide 150 year period in black (and gay) history, are especially significant from a black historical context because, "Historically, the Afro American gay male and couple has largely been defined by everyone but themselves," as historian Kelly says of his rare photo collection. "Afro American gay men are ignored into nonexistence in parts of black culture and are basically second class citizens in gay culture."

These photos also present fashions of the various time periods in black history. In his introduction to Hidden in the Open, Kelly notes how, "the black church, which has historically played a fundamental role in protesting against civil injustices toward its parishioners, has been want to deny its gay members their right to live a life free and open without prejudice. Despite public projections of a 'rainbow' community living together in harmonious co-habitation, openly active and passive prejudices exist in the larger gay community against gay Afro Americans."

View this photo essay at Climbing Kilmanjaro's Flickr page.

Relevant Tags

Black History Month 2012 (11), Black History Month (122)