James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Archives January 2012

New Accession: Black Lesbian Newsletter / Onyx

As we begin February and the celebration of Black History Month, it seemed the right time to highlight a small but important collection of newsletters that we received last year. Black Lesbian Newsletter was published in San Francisco and, later, Berkeley in the early- to mid-1980s. Its working title changed to Onyx as the result of suggestions from its readership. The newsletter was the brainchild of Laverne Gagehabib, A.C. Barber and Vivienne Walker-Crawford.

The first issue of Black Lesbian Newsletter begins with a "Dear Readers" column which describes the purpose of the publication. The newsletter includes poems, drawings, political perspectives, photographs, book reviews, event listings, personals, and some business listings. Later issues contain illustrations such as the one above by Sarita Johnson.

We received 14 issues dating from June 1982 through October/November 1984 with some issues missing. A complete list follows.

Black Lesbian Newsletter: v. 1 (1) June 1982; v. 1 (4) October 1982; v. 1. (5) November 1982; v. 1. (6) December 1982.

Onyx: Black Lesbian Newsletter: v. 2 ([1]) February 1983; v. 2 (2) April/May 1983; v. 2 (4) August/September 1983; v. 2 (5) October/November 1983; v. 2 (6) December 1983/January 1984; v. 3 (1) February/March 1984; v. 3 (2) April/May 1984; v. 3 (3) June/July 1984; v. 3 (4) August/September 1984; v. 3 (5) October/November 1984.

The collection also includes two mounted newsletter covers, as well as related materials on the Bay Area Black Lesbian Political Caucus. The group was formed by Vivienne Crawford, Joyce Penalver, and Brenda Crawford. The Bay Area Black Lesbian Political Caucus materials include a grant proposal sent to the Vanguard Public Foundation in 1989 and the minutes of the first meeting.

This collection is a recent accession and not yet available to the public. All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. For questions, please contact the San Francisco History Center reference desk at 415-557-4567.