On the 35th Anniversary of Durham’s Gay Pride/Recall Victory
Celeste Cornelius with Mab Segrest
On June 25, 1986, a flyer was distributed around Durham that read in bold print at the top of the page “JUSTICE FOR ALL” with only a thin black line separating the words “DON’T SIGN THE PETITION!” At the bottom of the page, it read “NO RECALL!”
Although the flyer announced Durham Citizens for Responsible Leadership as the ad-hoc coalition that mounted this campaign, the P.O. BOX and address were those of the People’s Alliance. This piece from the archives of the People’s Alliance shows the role that People’s Alliance played in one of the earliest and most important battles for gay and lesbian rights in the history of Durham, as I discussed with PA Board Member Mab Segrest this week.
In 1979, three years after the People’s Alliance was founded, Republican Harry Rodenhizer was elected mayor of Durham. Mayor Rodenhizer was central to getting the Durham freeway — which had already displaced the Hayti community — extended along the route it takes today through another historically-Black neighborhood, Crest Street. Joining Crest St. residents to block this extension was one of the PA’s first campaigns.
At times in the following decades, PA worked closely with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and other groups to help shift Durham’s political landscape. Today, when over 80% of the county voted for Democrats in the last election, Republican candidates don’t even contest for many local offices.
However, even when so many of us vote blue, the recent conflict over Durham’s former county manager goes to show that we aren’t without our differences. In fact, without a meaningful local presence of the far right to unite against, the volume on those differences has been turned way up.Read more
The People's Alliance Education Action Team has submitted the following public comment to the Durham Public Schools Board of Education:Read more