Whose Beloved Community?

Black Civil Rights and LGBT Rights Conference
March 27–29, 2014

Whose Beloved Community?

The Whose Beloved Community? Black Civil and LGBT Rights conference fulfills in part the vision of the late Rudolph P. Byrd, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies and Founding Director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference. This conference is an outcome of Rudolph’s final project, a multiyear investigation of the points of convergence and divergence between the black LGBT movement and the civil rights movement. In convening a national working group of academics, public intellectuals, and artists and reaching out to community activists here in Atlanta, he hoped to inspire a deep interrogation of the contours of one of the most important civil rights issues of our day. Convening in the South, and focused squarely on the meaning of LGBT issues to black communities, this project upsets easy assumptions bout where, how, and by whom LGBT activism takes place, and recovers a history and a present that can help us chart a more inclusive future.

This conference was generously supported by The Arcus Foundation and matched by substantial contributions from Emory University and The Ford Foundation. The Arcus Foundation also enabled the production of a volume of scholarly essays spearheaded by the national working group as a well as an oral history project on black LGBT leaders in Atlanta that is being conducted in conjunction with StoryCorps Atlanta.

Conference Organizers

Following Rudolph’s untimely death, a range of people too numerous to mention here stepped in to see this phase of his vision to completion. Our thanks to the following lead organizers:

Leslie Harris
Associate Professor, History and African American Studies
Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities

Emory University

Dona Yarbrough
Associate Vice Provost for Community and Diversity
Director, Center for Women at Emory
Emory University

Charles Stephens
Program Coordinator
Emory University