Sunday, February 23, Dignity/Washington was pleased to host Mr. Chuck Hicks, DC Black History Celebration Committee activist and librarian, for a special presentation in commemoration of Black History Month. Mr. Phil Pannell and Mr. Courtney Williams, long-time DC gay black activists, joined Mr. Hicks in speaking from their own life experiences about the history, purpose, and on-going value of Black History Month.
Mr. Hicks related how the month grew out of early black celebrations of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass whose birthdays both occurred in February. Mr. Pannell praised Dignity chapters, whose foundations followed closely after the 1969 Stonewall riots and drew upon the spiritually militant yet non-violent Catholic tradition of Dorothy Day and Dan and Phil Berrigan. Mr. Williams spoke about growing up as a gay black teenager at historically African-American St. Luke’s Catholic Church in NE DC and the changes in consciousness over the years about the contributions of African-Americans and LGBT individuals to the District.
This event was the latest in an ongoing special lecture series, sponsored by Dignity/Washington and was held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.