budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics, sports, and science,
are facilitating our future. Meet the architects of the next decade.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Julia Wallace • 29 & 32
Historians, Mobile Homecoming
2009, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Julia Wallace were at a conference in
North Carolina, attended primarily by black lesbians, and realized they
were the youngest people there. Listening to the older women, “it became
very obvious that the choices they had made and the things they had
done had made things better for us,” Gumbs says. Adds Wallace: “We
became very excited about the experiences they had.” That led the
partners in life and work to get on the road and seek out
African-American LGBT elders (basically, anyone older than they are)
around the nation for a project called Mobile Homecoming. Gumbs and
Wallace are documenting their subjects’ lives through video and audio
interviews that they plan to assemble into a documentary film by the end
of next year, and they are also holding intergenerational events and
collecting photos, manuscripts, and other artifacts for an archive of
black LGBT life.
The effort “has been affirming and sometimes
overwhelming,” Gumbs says. In some cases, “people have been waiting all
their life for someone to listen to them.” Wallace says the project
made her realize “we have a responsibility to our elders and our
ancestors to take care of each other.” In addition to Mobile Homecoming,
Gumbs’s projects include BrokenBeautiful Press, a website where
activists can share resources, and Brilliance Remastered, which offers
online seminars, individual coaching, and other assistance for scholars.
Wallace is founder of Queer Renaissance, which uses the Internet and
other media to connect artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and others.
Soon the busy duo will be collaborating on a children’s book as well.