Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looking for information on Don Lucas

When I put in the name Donald Stewart Lucas, I got five or six links, including EBSCOHOST which gives links—which I can't get—from back issues of Advocate, including HIC (which I had never known of) AND even one item from “Jeannie's Lamp.”  One on our picketing  of the L.A. Times  (10-13-71), and on our Directory of Publications (8-77). (The main link is to SFGATE and it is obituary but good.  Then link to even FIBLibrary but not much and link to Archies Unbound Collection, ok, and LGBTran  which lists him, and Hal's being in Council on Religion and the Homosexual.  And main link to GLBTHistorical Society.  Notes written by Martin Meeker, and Paul Gabriel (oral history),  Online Archive of CA also has him but not much on us.


Paul Gabriel said...

Hi Billy,

I was quite close to Don. I did an extensive oral history with him, wrote his obituary for the BAR, and helped him bring his life papers to the GLBTHS.

The notes you found on him from Martin and myself probably originate from an exhibition we co-curated on Don's life for the Hormel Center at the SF Public Library, titled "Sleight of Hand Activism."

What did you need to know?


Billy Glover said...

I had been asked by Bill Percy to write a few words on him for Percy's web site, as he was one of the few early activists who had not, in Bill's view, gotten credit. When I looked at the listings I think he had not been forgotten. But I had not understood that he had moved on to the concerns in the target area.

I understand his work with the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and that is why he is listed on LGBTRAN’s list. But it is strange that no one at ONE/HIC is, even though we worked with Clay Colwell, Alex Smith, and Vern Bullough on it in L. A. Hal Call of course kept going and Jim Sears book had been about him. I, for instance, saw no mention of Lucas in the book edited by Vern Bullough, Before Stonewall. And we had not mentioned of him in Todd White's book on ONE/HIC, Pre-Gay L. A. Although I had seen how Hal got into Mattachine I had not known when Don got involved.

In the few daysIi stayed with Hal after the Denver convention and worked in the office, I had learned little about Don. And being a young or less "concerned" person I did nto "record" for the future my toughts on Mattachine and the people I met there. I have only the fact that I wrote a review of Advise and Consent for the Review to remind me of what was for me just a good visit.

I was consistently an "unaware" worker. For instance, when I first went to ONE's office, I met Jim Kepner, we visited at Thrifty Drug across from Pershing Square, and he told me of the Denver convention. I decided to go. Yet I have no memory of the convention or even Jim's part. But I did remember, or have rewritten history, that that stupid resolution was made about the mayor. I was a skeptic of such things before getting under Dorr Legg's view.

When some unknown person suddenly shows up, why do we not have some question about motives? That was our argument with Morris Kight—and of course when HE finally got involved with GLF, etc, he suddenly adopted our view. (He had said, like in theory but not practice, what Harry Hay had wanted: decide by acclimation. Let anyone showing up vote, etc. That of course was stupid, As most of the time, even at the very founding of ONE Magazine, the most fervent speakers and "supporters"dropped out and were never did anything.)

I think of this because as I then worked at ONE with Don Slater and Dorr Legg, as a volunteer and then as a staff member when Jim Kepner resigned for the second time, I did compare them with Hal Call and Don Lucas. The Dons were opposites, as Dorr was what Don Lucas was and Don Slater was what Hal was.

It was ironic that, by doing what I thought was the wrong thing—as did others at the convention, little did anyone expect the issue of the resolution to backfire, not to harm Mattachine, but to help it get media coverage/publicity. The other irony is that the media coverage, which we all thought was great (and was a first that historians and the media have largely ignored) destroyed Mattachine in Denver. That is why I have always (and had not thought of it before working with Slater) thought of unintended consequences when making decisions.

Billy Glover said...

The other relevant part is the eventual separation of ONE due to internal disagreements between Slater and Legg over priorities. We never had chapters, so that was not our problem. And the final terrible irony, and I always wondered what led Don Lucas to move on, was our getting funding. The moment we got ISHR (thanks to Reed Erickson) and Don and I moved to working with and being paid by it, Dorr went nuts and wanted to push the Institute/education, and stop the magazine. He was willing to lie, cheat, fake the voting, to get his way. It was not money or even power he wanted, just to push the Institute. He of course did not do that once we separated—he didn't publish the Quarterly, he tried to publish the very magazine he wanted to kill. He wasted most of the money on an attorney, and of course lost because he had misled the attorney and he and the attorney both got one judge mad.

I wondered if some such disagreement had caused Lucas to separate from Call. I did find it queer that when ONE became two, Hal supported Dorr, and gave money to the new Institute. Today both parts, and Kepner's part was and is the major part of ONE Archives, are owned by universities, ONE at USC and HIC at CSUN.

What our community/movement needs to do, besides fight for our civil rights, is to document and save our history and thus make future generatins aware of what all of these pioneers did and why and what worked and what did not. Tht is why I ould like to know what Dn Lucas felt about hsi work and wanted or expected in the future. I think their work has been successful- maybe in spite of what they thought was the best route.

Bill Kelley said...

Don't know about Clay Colwell, but Bob Cromey is still around.

Billy Glover said...

Good to know. I also wonder if Glide Church is still working for the cause. And what happened to The Prosperos that some men and women got involved in? And someone wrote in the Gay Chicago under the name Homophilous, who and what happend to him/her? And I have asked if Eric Julber is still with us, and the attorney that incorporated HIC, Herb Selwyn.