Monday, February 4, 2013

Research Query RE: Don Jackson, Alpine Liberation Front


Mr. Glover,

I am a graduate student at University of Massachusetts Boston doing research on gay separatism. I recently contacted Mary Ann Cherry with a question related to her work on Morris Kight’s biography. She consequently referred me to you on the matter. 

I am trying to get a better understanding of who “Don Jackson” of Alpine Liberation Front is or was as an individual. I am aware of his role as an activist and his writings for various publications during the early ’70s, but I have yet to encounter any source material that provides any insight into his background or character. 

If you happen to have any direct knowledge or know of specific source material relating to this matter that you would be willing to share it would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Jacob



Dear Jacob:

I apologize for not checking my other email addresses.  I am aware of Don Jackson and will try to find some mention in the few copies of ONE/Tangents Magazine I have here, as I am in LA the state, but our Homosexual Information Center files are in L.A. the city, at Cal State Northridge (library) and ONE Archives at USC (library).

As I gather you know, Jackson was involved with Morris Kight in that wonderful Alpine County invasion, which, as usual, found the media lazy and gullible. Morris was good at exploiting their stupidity. But it was a wonderful educational effort. I think Time magazine and others covered the cause, so it should be in some Web site archives—I think Time says all of its issues are now online.

I assume The Advocate covered this.  I hate to speculate but will give some things that may or may not be true.  I thought he wa in the San Francisco area, but he may have been involved with Morris in work in L.A., such as the PRIDE group from which The Advocate came. 

My version of the Alpine adventure is that Jackson or others came up with the idea of fooling the public by saying that since there were so few citizens in Alpine County, if only a few homosexuals moved there, they could control the government, get government money, etc.  

I never knew if the citizens there were really concerned, but there are bigots (a few thankfully) everywhere. BUT the idea was pure camp and was a truly gay thing. So they started telling the public about this, and the media fell for it.

Few of us thought many of us would go to the isolated, cold place—and we opposed ghettos. And considering the nuts who are still trying to isolate themselves from the world in Idaho, fearing the government is going to destroy us, that it is not a good idea today.

I checked a book of early pioneers/activists (Before Stonewall, edited by Vern Bullough) and three other books and none mention Alpine or Don Jackson.  (Not even the biography of Morris.) I am sending this on to a few others who might know more and i wil let you know if i find other mentions.  It is strange that the “event” is ignored in our movement/community but was so big in the media.

8 comments:

Mary Ann Cherry said...

Hi Billy:

Here is my version (based on research) of the Alpine scheme.

http://morriskight.blogspot.com/

(you have to scroll about 3/4 way down, it's an entry dated Sept 13, 2011)

To my knowlege, Don Jackson was based in the Bay area and never spoke to Morris again after the Alpine fiasco. Jackson was very sincere in his efforts to move everyone to Alpine and, understandably, was hurt and disappointed once he realized what was going on (though I doubt he fully understood Kight's thinking).

Morris was way ahead of most in his thinking, and he didn’t expect everyone to keep up with him.

Have a good day!

Billy Glover said...

All typos are due to my shaking from laughter. This is a wonderful GAY story and every glbt person should read it and see why our movement, with its diversity, is succeeding. Thank you.

I had forgotten just how stupid and lazy the media can be. Do you know if the student found any info on Don Jackson?

Jesse Monteagudo said...

I remember reading about Alpine County in Donn Teal's classic history "The Gay Militants." I only met Morris Kight once, in the late 1970's when he was already being replaced at the top of the gay pyramid by David Goodstein and other business types. He was one of a kind.

Billy Glover said...

Yes, unless there were some on the East Coast I never heard of. He was not austere (Dorr Legg) or feisty (Don Slater) or quite like Troy (Perry)—but he preached like him and got more attention than the serious discussion Dorr, et al gave.

Even professionals liked Morris.The psychologists who politely clapped when Don and Jane Hansen spoke at a convention at the del vigorously clapped and praised Morris and he had essentially give them a sermon, with few scientific references, etc.

Hipstorian said...

I'm also a history graduate student, writing about the Alpine Liberation Front from the perspective of the people living there at the time. It is a wonderful story, and I'd love to be put in touch with Jacob! (Mary Ann and I are already friends on Facebook.)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Martin Meeker said...

Billy,

I vaguely recall Don Jackson, or another person associated with the Alpine County “takeover,” coming to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco a number of years back (probably 10 years ago). Perhaps he donated some material when he was there? Regardless, I think that it would be worthwhile to check in with the archivist there (I believe Marjorie Bryer is now the archivist) and see what materials they have. I don’t know that Don Lucas was involved in the Alpine County action. Wish I could be of greater help, but this event falls a bit outside of my research area, even though I found it to be quite interesting!

Cheers, Martin

Billy Glover said...

Thanks, Martin. And best wishes in your work. I hope that our community media will give publicity to all of the archives/libraries, such as GLBT Historical there, ONE Archives at USC, our HIC Archives at CSUN, Lambda in San Diego, Lavender at Sacramento, etc.