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  WINDY CITY TIMES

chicago whispers
by Sukie de la Croix
2001-10-24

This article shared 1328 times since Wed Oct 24, 2001
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E-mail received from '60s activist, now living in Louisiana.

"I want to share some thoughts on an event in gay history brought to mind by mention of a bar in Sukie De La Croix's column in a recent issue of Windy City Times. He wisely always says at the end of his column, to historians, that this is just someone's memory and may not be completely accurate. And I say the same thing, since even though I was there I don't really remember the conference and didn't take notes, a sin for someone interested in our history.

"The bar was The Trip. The event was ( so the coverage in Tangents Magazine of August, 1968 says ) the 4th NACHO conference ( North American Conference of Homophile Organizations ) , held in Chicago. The first thing I 'miss' is mention of the Chicago people hosting the event, except for the credit to Mattachine Midwest. And my memory is blank, as was shown over a year ago when a librarian from the Chicago Library sought information on the event. Frank Kameny was able to give a little...he had then suggested the slogan Gay is Good, as ONE mentions.

"Even though no dates are given, it is said that the event took place a week before the infamous Democratic National Convention.

"Names that are not heard now are listed. Steve Donaldson and Sandy Penn were the credentials committee people, who had lots of trouble since most of us objected to their bureaucratic ways and rules. The main issue was then, as even now, do we federate or work as we do. The 'Easterners' pushed an agenda...not sure what it was. I should say that the article in ONE was in the Tangents ( news ) section, and credited to the 'original' Sal McIntire, which I assume was Jim Kepner. ( I think Donaldson was Bob Martin, but in any case he was founder of the first gay college group, Columbia's Homophile League. Sandy was DOB ...Daughters of Bilitis ) . Frank was Washington, D.C. Mattachine.

"There were people from a new group, ONE-Phoenix Society of Kansas City, Drew Shafer and Mark Jeffers. Doug Sanders ( Vancouver ) , Austin Wade ( the only independent, who fussed at the short comings of the Wolfenden Report ) . Ray Hill was Promethean Society of Houston, new and out of nowhere, wanted to host the next conference, which most of us opposed. It never happened, but Ray is still active, has run for public office, and even came to Shreveport, La., to try to get a gay group started, which failed, but which I was in town for. It was hosted by David Dement, and we later met at his folk's home down the street from me, on Delhi St., in Bossier City, the home of the present mayor of Bossier. It developed into an AIDS group and then died from internal problems.

"Clark Polka of Janus ( Drum Magazine ) was there, and Bill Beardemphl of SIR ( Society, San Francisco ) and Foster Gunnison ( Inst. of Social Ethics, Ct. ) who was supposed to save our records, but is not sure where they are today. And Kansas City was supposed to become the clearing house, and that didn't work out.

"But the one item of interest to Chicago was that Mattachine was having trouble finding a place to host the conference until the city apparently raided The Trip and closed it, and so it was available.

"I know I didn't think we accomplished much and I am not the good-fellow-type, so I didn't make new friends, and Eddy Casius, I think from Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and I left, drove to St. Louis and went in the Arch, he left me in Louisiana and went back to L.A. I honestly don't remember who was there from the other ONE, but think Dorr was, and that we were not friendly. But why Bill Kelley etc. were not covered, after doing a good job, I'm not sure. Nor am I sure Jim Kepner was there, and if not, who gave him the information. But I found the copy of the magazine and am glad to have a chance to relive this event. By the way, the editorial in that issue was also on NACHO, and not hopeful. The conference in San Francisco killed it off."

Follow up e-mail:

"Everyone knows me as Billy Glover ( William Edward was how I was listed in ONE and Tangents Magazine ) . I live in Louisiana, Bossier City. I was born here, and live in an old family home I grew up in. I work for HIC from here, but lived and worked with ONE/HIC for over 30 years in L.A. As I started working with ONE in 1960...right after Jim Kepner left...you won't be surprised to know I am 69 years old. I was a lousy archivist as I lived and enjoyed those years without ever thinking that I should write down what was happening and save the material...such as from the NACHO meeting there in Chicago. And now that I have time to read the gay media, and also look over what we did, it happened that your column mention of The Trip was at the same time I had found the magazine with the report on the NACHO meeting/conference.

"I hope your work will alert young people before they also let their past slip away. In those days people didn't want their picture, and sometimes name, made public, but now we need to save pictures, as documentaries etc."

Memory check: The National Homophile Convention ( NACHO ) was held in mid-August 1968 at the Trip. Highlights included a cocktail party hosted by Mattachine Midwest and the Daughters of Bilitis in honor of Pearl M. Hart, Chicago attorney, at Mayor's Row.

Future historians take note: The memory section in this column contains just that...memories ...and are only to be used as a starting point for your research. Send your stories to Sukie de la Croix at Windy City Times. You can leave a message on his voicemail at 773-871-7610. E-mail sukiedelacroix@ozhasspoken.com


This article shared 1328 times since Wed Oct 24, 2001
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