Carolinian – Campus News
Issue: 2/18/02

PRIDE display protested
By Joe Killian

Controversy erupted this week when UNCG PRIDE celebrated Black History Month with a Jackson library display honoring black homosexual authors and entertainers. The organization, a gay and lesbian student group, began receiving complaints almost as soon as the display went up Tuesday.

“I was alerted to complaints the very next day,” said Lillian Adcock, librarian and former PRIDE advisor . “There are always grumbles on campus when PRIDE displays go up, but I really didn’t think it would cause such controversy.”

According to administrators at least a dozen calls protesting the display were received in the first day alone.

“I don’t understand what the big deal is,” said PRIDE member and Greensboro College student Chuck Thompson. “We’re celebrating Black History month by showing people another side of it.”

The display, titled “Dark Shadows, Deep Closets” emphasizes the struggles and accomplishments of homosexuals within the black community.

SGA vice president Carisa Stanley came to see the display Tuesday after receiving complaints, prompting some to worry the SGA would remove it from Jackson library. Stanley quickly killed that notion.

“The SGA doesn’t have the right to remove the exhibit,” said Stanley. “In fact, no one’s even brought this issue before the SGA, so we really can’t do anything at all.”

According to Stanley the display cases in Jackson library aren’t even paid for by student fees and are beyond the SGA’s jurisdiction.

“I like it, personally,” said Stanley. “I just think people don’t understand it and what it’s really trying to say. I think they think taboo and controversy and they don’t think about it trying to honor these people.”

Thompson, a gay black man, said he thinks the misunderstanding is ridiculous.

“I would never say anything derogatory about black American homosexuals,” said Thompson. “I mean, for obvious reasons.”

The display features a number of photographs of famous and influential black writers, singers, actors, activists and politicians and a number of books about race and homosexuality from the library’s own collection.

“All of the materials used to make the display come from the library itself,” said Adcock. “It’s well done, it’s educational and informative. I really don’t understand the problem.”

According to some students the issue isn’t the display’s shock value but its connection with black history month.

“This is black history month and that’s something to be proud of,” said one black student who asked to remain anonymous. “And gays ain’t something to be proud of. We don’t want to be associated with that. Black History Month is for blacks, and not for fags.”

Adcock said she acknowledges the historical tension between civil and gay rights groups, but said she thinks the conflict could be eased if some of the detractors would actually read the featured book.

“There’s one book especially, called ‘The Greatest Taboo,'” said Adcock. “That book really says it all.

Adcock said the display also features a defining quote by poet and activist Essex Hemphill:

“The Black homosexual is hard pressed to gain audience among his heterosexual brothers; even if he is more talented, he is inhibited by his silence or his admissions. This is what the race has depended on in being able to erase homosexuality from our recorded history. The “chosen” history. But these sacred constructions of silence are futile exercises in denial. We will not go away with our issues of sexuality. We are coming home.”

For more information on homosexuals and black history, visit,, or visit the Jackson library.