Safer at Home: Exploring the ONE Archives Collection

Week 9 (June 22, 2020)

This photograph by Pat Rocco captures Ron Grayson mid-speech at a protest organized by the gay community against the LAPD Police Chief, Edward M. Davis, and his racist and homophobic policies. On this evening in October 1975, Grayson addressed a crowd of 600 in front of Hollywood High School. The group then proceeded to march to the LAPD Wilcox Avenue Station. The plan was to have a silent march, but, on the walk to the station, Grayson broke rank and started the chant: “Dump Davis Now!” 

Grayson represented the newly formed Association of Black Gays (ABG), which he cofounded with Gloria Brown. Active from 1975 until 1979, the ABG’s mission was to fight racial discrimination in LA’s gay community. Employing a mix of strategies from direct actions to policy work, Grayson and the members of ABG worked to put race at the forefront—challenging police harassment, wrongful incarceration, and racist entry policies at local gay bars. They also published a journal, Rafiki, and helped support a Pan-African understanding of their racial and sexual identities. 

Grayson’s anti-racist and anti-capitalist fight, especially with its emphasis on police brutality, is particularly poignant today as the same battles rage on. Grayson is just one of many individuals who have decried police actions—bar raids, racial profiling, and wrongful incarceration—that put Black lives at risk. Knowing this history, remembering those who started the fight, and telling their stories is a form of power. ONE Archives recognizes the importance of these individuals and movements by collecting their stories and sharing this history so we can learn from it, build on it, and acknowledge those who continue the fight. 

Thanks to Kevin C. Quin for his work on Ron Grayson. For more on Grayson and the ABG see: Kevin C. Quin “‘To Stamp Out the Oppression of All Black People’: Ron Grayson and the Association of Black Gays, 1975–1979” published in The Journal of African American History (Spring 2019) or his blog post reflecting on his time as a ONE Archives Foundation fellow.


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