This week I continued adding on to my Philadelphia LGBTQ+ Historic Site spreadsheet, and I successfully proposed a community outreach project to the William Way Community Center for PrideFest next weekend. On Wednesday I met with my direct supervisor, Bonnie Halda, and Shaun Eyring in the morning to discuss my summer work plan, and in the afternoon we met with Mike Doveton and Pat Jones at the Independence National Historical Park office to discuss next steps for the NPS/William Way exhibit project. Since Wednesday, I have worked to collect and develop the materials I need for my PrideFest outreach booth, kept up-to-date on current events, and had a phone conference with Chris Beagan, who among other things, works on the NPS LGBTQ Heritage Initiative in the Northeast Regional Office in Boston.
On Monday, I reached out to Mike Doveton at Independence National Historical Park to determine what plans were in motion at Independence for a PrideFest booth for Pride Weekend, as they have had booths there previously. He explained that Independence would not have a booth there this year, so at Dr. Lowe's suggestion I reached out to the William Way Community Center to propose my community outreach booth. This booth involves a large (roughly 2' by 4') map of Philadelphia, and I will ask participants where they first felt at home in the Philadelphia LGBTQ Community, and when that was. Participants will then be provided pushpins to mark their responses on the map. When I proposed this to William Way, they thought this would be a great idea for their outreach booth. I established that I will be working at the William Way Community Center's outreach booth from noon to 4PM at PrideFest (6/18). This is a fantastic opportunity to both engage with the Community at large, and also to conduct some spatial data collection.
On Wednesday morning, I went in to the NPS Northeast Regional Office to meet with my local supervisor, Bonnie Halda, and Shaun Eyring, the Chief of Cultural Resources. During this time, we established my work space there, and how often I will be coming in to the office (one to two days a week). We also worked over my summer work plan. In the early afternoon, Bonnie, Shaun, and I made our way over to Independence for a meeting with Pat Jones, Head of Interpretation at Independence, and Mike Doveton who are working closely with William Way on their exhibit. This was an interesting and productive meeting as we considered what the next steps for the William Way exhibit are, and what my role in that process will be. This project is still very much in development, but I really look forward to beginning work on that project as well.
Aside from meetings and project proposals, I continued adding on to the spreadsheet of LGBTQ historic sites in Philadelphia. This week's list of sites included the Homophile Action League offices, the Janus Society offices, the Marc Blitzstein House, and BEBASHI. The Homophile Action League (HAL) and the Janus Society were two of the most prominent local homophile organizations of the 1960s, with the Janus Society being far more sexually progressive and left-wing than HAL, and certainly more so than the Daughters of Bilitis or the Mattachine Society, both of which were national organizations. The HAL was founded in 1968 after a raid on Rusty's lesbian bar convinced members of the Daughters of Bilitis and Mattachine Society chapters in Philadelphia to disband and reorganize as the Homophile Action League, an early, Philadelphia-based heterosocial gay rights organization. In the early 1970s, the HAL was among the local gay rights organizations in Philadelphia to advocate for policy reform to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
The Janus Society was founded earlier, in 1962, and published the most widely distributed homophile magazine of the 1960s, Drum. What differentiates the Janus Society from most homophile organizations in the 1960s was their deviation from militant respectability. Upon his election as president in 1963, Clark Polak rejected the organization's former politics of sexual respectability and embraced sexual liberation instead. This ultimately made the Janus Society much more controversial than other homophile organizations, and earned much criticism from them as well.
BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues) was the first Black organization to recognize the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Founded in 1985 by Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer (then Hassan), a Black Muslim nurse working in Germantown who witnessed the treatment other healthcare providers afforded poor Black men with HIV/AIDS, and recognized that this demographic was likely to be more heavily affected by the epidemic. Abdul-Khabeer quickly got involved with Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives (becoming vice president of their board) and the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force, but ultimately split off from both, believing neither was properly meeting the Black community's needs. BEBASHI was the second HIV/AIDS service organization in Philadelphia, and the first Black organization of its kind in the country. BEBASHI continues its work today, maintaining its HIV/AIDS focus but also serving as a multi-purpose health and social services agency.
Earlier this week Dr. Lowe sent me a link regarding the upcoming dedication of a state historical marker at the house where Marc Blitzstein was born. After learning about this, I looked more closely into his history and put this address on the spreadsheet as well. Marc Blitzstein was born in 1905 and was a musical prodigy at a young age. He studied composition at Curtis, and made his professional concert debut at 21 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Although Blitzstein was openly gay, in 1933 he married Eva Goldbeck, a woman he had met while touring in Europe years prior, and in whom he found a mind which matched his own. The two lived together in New York's West Village until Goldbeck's death in 1936. In 1937, Blitzstein produced his most famous work, The Cradle Will Rock, a left-wing political opera which received critical acclaim. During World War II Blitzstein served in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force, and was able to continue composing while stationed in the United Kingdom. In 1963, Blitzstein went on vacation to Martinique for the winter, but he died there from an apparent gay bashing/robbery gone wrong on January 22, 1964.
In terms of current events in Philadelphia's LGBT Community, the most exciting news comes from the Pride Month Kick-Off, held yesterday at City Hall by the Office of LGBT Affairs. At this event, the Office unveiled a new Pride flag which now boasts a black and a brown stripe atop the traditional rainbow flag. This is quite the sign of solidarity with the LGBT People of Color in Philadelphia whose voices are only just starting to be heard. I'll be curious to see what else happens as Pride Month continues.
This morning I had a phone conference with Bonnie, Shaun, and Chris Beagan, a historical landscape architect with the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Boston, and someone involved with the NPS LGBTQ Employee Resource Group. Chris told us about the work an intern of his is doing, creating a tool kit to encourage and help NPS sites incorporate LGBT themes into their interpretation where they currently might not. This is fascinating to me, having read much of the NPS Theme Study which encourages this kind of reinterpretation at extant NPS sites. In turn, I explained the work I'm doing here in Philadelphia with the documentation of LGBT sites, community outreach, and exhibits in partnership with local institutions. During one part of our conversation Chris offered to connect me with Megan Springate, now an NPS employee in D.C. and one of the largest contributors to the Theme Study. I enthusiastically thanked him and indicated that I would greatly appreciate that. I look forward to keeping in touch with Chris throughout this summer, and taking advantage of his offer to engage with the Park Service's LGBTQ Resource Group. In July, I will have the opportunity to report to them on the work being done here in Philadelphia and hear from Park Service people from across the country about what they are doing as well.
 Marc Stein, City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004): p. 277. Kevin Mumford, “The Trouble With Gay Rights: Race and the Politics of Sexual Orientation in Philadelphia, 1969-1982,” The Journal of American History, vol. 98 no. 1 (June, 2011): p. 52.
 Marc Stein, City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004): p. 208-11, 231-45.
 Dan Royles, “’Don’t We Die Too?’: The Political Culture of African American AIDS Activism,” (PhD Diss., Temple University, 2014): p. 38, 65. BEBASHI, “Our Mission,” BEBASHI, http://www.bebashi.org/about. (Accessed: 6/9/2017).
 The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, “The Marc Blitzstein Web Site,” The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, http://www.marcblitzstein.com/. (Accessed: 6/9/2017).