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date: 18 September 2020

The Queer Harlem Renaissancelocked

  • James F. Wilson


Queer voices and experiences were integral to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 1930s. Many of the literary luminaries were lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and theater and nightclub acts often featured queer performances. As the Harlem neighborhood developed into an after-hours New York City tourist destination, queer people of different races, classes, and national origins congregated on the streets, in speakeasies, and in private homes. The subculture thrived even as clergy members railed against so-called deviant lifestyles and as law enforcement cracked down on public acts of homosexuality.

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