James T. Sears presents "Queering Rehoboth Beach"

James T. Sears presents "Queering Rehoboth Beach"

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Thursday, June 13th 2024
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
“Create A More Positive Rehoboth” was a decades-long goal for progress and inclusiveness in a charming beach town in southern Delaware. Rehoboth, which was established in the 19th century as a Methodist Church meeting camp, has, over time, become a thriving mecca for the LGBTQ+ community.

In QUEERING REHOBOTH BEACH, historian and educator James Sears charts this significant evolution. Sears draws upon extensive oral history accounts, archival material, and personal narratives to chronicle “the Battle for Rehoboth,” which unfolded in the late 20th century, as conservative town leaders and homeowners opposed progressive entrepreneurs and gay activists. He recounts not just the emergence of the gay and lesbian bars, dance clubs, and organizations that drew the queer community to the region, but also the efforts of local politicians and homeowners, among other groups who fought to develop and protect the traditional identity of this beach town. Moreover, issues of race, class, and gender and sexuality informed opinions as residents and visitors struggled with the AIDS crisis and the legacy of Jim Crow.

QUEERING REHOBOTH BEACH is more than just an inspiring story about a community’s resilience and determination to establish a safe space for itself in the wake of the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It is also a terrific beach read.

James T. Sears is an independent scholar focusing on Queer History. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including GROWING UP GAY IN THE SOUTH, LONELY HUNTERS: AN ORAL HISTORY OF LESBIAN AND GAY SOUTHERN LIFE, 1948-1968, BEHIND THE MASK OF THE MATTACHINE: THE HAL CALL CHRONICLES AND THE EARLY MOVEMENT FOR HOMOSEXUAL EMANCIPATION, and REBELS, RUBYFRUIT, AND RHINESTONES: QUEERING SPACE IN THE STONEWALL SOUTH. A former Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at Trinity University, Indiana University, Harvard University, Penn State University, the University of South Carolina, and was a research fellow and the University of Queensland and the University of Southern California. He continues to lecture throughout the world.

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