Friday, January 17, 2014

A question from M Cherry: What was Don Slater and Jim Kepner's relationship like?

The relationship among Dorr Legg, Don Slater, and Jim Kepner was beneficial to the movement but, mainly due to Dorr, constantly caused frustration. He of course got Jim upset when he told him to say ONE was tax-exempt when it was not, and that is the final straw—at the time-that made Jim quit because he felt personally vulnerable if the IRS accused him of false claims. I don't recall—as I was not there—the relationship on the magazine, but think it was ok.  

The main issue Don had with Jim was that he was trying to be in ALL groups, which I don't think was a bad thing, but then Jim made what I think was his worst mistake when the separation came in 1965.

Jim was leading the ONE European tour, and Rudi Steinert was on it as was the man behind the tours, Chet Sampson. Dorr had promised Rudi Don could use his proxy in voting at the annual business meeting/Winter event. As Chair, he then refused to allow it.  I am not sure if Sampson was a voting member or if someone had his proxy.

But Kepner was called about our moving the office, and told told Chet, Rudi, et al. to support Dorr, as Don would not be successful. I always felt that this was nuts since he had had more problems with Dorr’s imperious attitude than anyone.

History shows that legally Don won, but both factions kept going, and both continued to contribute to the cause.

Jim eventually, as in fact Dorr did, worked with Don, doing book reviews, etc. (Jim and Dorr refused to work on the NACHO military protest in 1966. We did the Motorcade—but for different reasons, and of course Morris Kight didn’t participate either.

We think Jim removed some books when he visited our Tangents office, but he had contributed many books to ONE, and since we had acquired most of the library, I doubt that made much difference—we think most of the material Dorr had when he died was really Jim’s, as the two libraries joined—thus ONE/IGLA and, for a brief time, ONE/IGLA/HIC.

I don’t seem t have much of Jim’s material—he published a newsletter in the 1990s, Jim Kepner’s Song & Dance, and of course he went broke and lost his home publishing Pursuit & Symposium magazine. I think his politics differed—but so did mine. He added to our work and was interested in aspects Don & Dorr were not.  He of course worked on ONE Institute Quarterly, which had the same problems I think the few current LGBT academic publications have—they are unreadable and on obscure topics on no general concern.

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