The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities

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Delroy Constantine-Simms
Alyson Books, Jan 1, 2001 - Education - 460 pages
Twenty-eight powerful, provocative essays from academics and writers of all ethnic heritages, genders, and sexuality, including bell hooks, Eric Garber, Seth Clarke Silberman, Gregory Conerly, and Dr. Gloria Wekker-running from 19th-century slave quarters to postapartheid South Africa, from RuPaul to the Wu Tang Clan, from 1920s Harlem to 1995's Million Man March on Washington-provide a clear-eyed societal, cultural, political, and historical view of both the transformation and continued repression of black lesbians and gay men.
A journalist and lecturer living in London, Delroy Constantine-Simms is a sociology graduate of the University of Hull and a psychology graduate of the University of East London. He is the author of "The Role of Black Educators in Educational Research" and (with V. Showunmi) "Teachers of the Future."

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About the author (2001)

Harriet Ann Jacobs was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813 However, when Jacobs was eleven years old, her mistress died and willed her to Dr. James Norcom, a binding decision that initiated a lifetime of suffering and hardship for Jacobs. Dr. Norcom, represented later as Dr. Flint in Jacobs's narrative, sexually harassed and physically abused the teenaged Jacobs as long as she was a servant in his household. Jacobs warded off his advances by entering into an affair with a prominent white lawyer named Samuel Treadwell Sawyer and bearing him two children: Joseph (b. 1829) and Louisa Matilda (c. 1833-1913), who legally belonged to Norcom. Fearing Norcom's persistent sexual threats and hoping that he might relinquish his hold on her children, Jacobs hid herself in the storeroom crawlspace at her grandmother's house from 1835 until 1842. During those seven years Jacobs, waiting for an opportunity to escape to the North. Jacobs was finally able to make her way to New York City by boat in 1842 and was eventually reunited with her children there.

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