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Dr. Levi Watkins Lecturer Shares History of Tenuous LGBTQ, Black Community Relationship

March 2019

E Patrick Johnson P.h.D.E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D., chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University, used a mix of personal and scholarly research, creative works, and gospel and secular music to contextualize the sometimes tenuous relationship between the Black LGBTQ community and the larger African-American community during the inaugural Dr. Levi Watkins lecture, Thursday, Mar. 21.

Dr. Johnson explained that members of the LGBTQ community oftentimes use code, like “Are you family?” to decipher who may be open about their sexuality. “I can build my home surrounded by institutions that accept me…so I can return home,” said Dr. Johnson, who is also the Carlos Montezuma Professor of African American Studies and Performance Studies and director of the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern. “We as a Black community continue to evolve and repave the road home so that when someone asks the question, ‘Are we family?’ regardless of our sexual orientation, we can respond with a resounding, ‘Yes!’"

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