Bricktop, and the Happy Ending

In the first week of women’s history month, we go to the second half of a two-part article about the incredible Ada Smith, or more simply known as, Bricktop. As we reviewed last time, she was an incredible woman who was successful and loved throughout the nightlife in 20’s Paris. We left off on that light note, but just like most of the world, Bricktop’s life changed when World War 2 began, and that is what we will be exploring next.

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Bricktop, the Fabulous

To wrap up Black History Month, we are going to do another two-part article looking at a woman who was the center of the night scene in Paris during the 20’s. We will look at a woman who was not only talented in her own right, but also fostered the talent of the people around her, and made connections with some of the most incredible rising stars of her day. We will discuss the impact of a woman who was loved by almost everyone she interacted with. 

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Tamara de Lempicka's Life

When writing an article about an artist, one expects to have some discussion of the art created by the person in question, but in this case, that is going to be avoided. Tamara de Lempicka was a highly controversial artist, and there is no lack of people studying her work, no matter which side they fall on in regards to its worth. But we are not going to be looking at that, as we are not art experts, and have never claimed to be. We are going to be looking instead at her life, and it is an extraordinary one to discuss. Tamara was a bisexual woman who was made a refugee twice in her life, first by the Bolsheviks, then later by the Nazis. She was called bourgeois while simultaneously being poor, so she will no doubt provide more than enough for us to fill an article.

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The End of the World War 2 Series

There is a Holocaust memorial in Berlin. That memorial is why we began this series, and that memorial is where it will end. The memorial is the subject of frequent vandalism, and that is what our final article in the World War 2 series is going to cover. Every queer person was in danger during World War 2. Queer people were sent to concentration camps; queer people were killed, queer people suffered. Any community would suffer from the loss of so many people, but the difference is that we were not allowed to mourn our loss.  There is controversy over having one memorial site for the queer lives lost, while at the same time there are hundreds of the other groups who suffered; there is little record of our existence. 

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Josephine Baker, a Woman with Eclectic Talents

For our fifth article in our World War 2 series, we move to Josephine Baker, a dancer, singer, spy, mother, and bisexual woman of colour. It is rare for us to identify a historical figure so clearly, but with some help from her son, historian Jean-Claude Baker, we can. Born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Baker’s life was never without its share of obstacles. Josephine Baker, however, wasn’t familiar with the word “stop”; she worked as an entertainer, an activist, a military woman, and a mother, and did not rest. Summarizing her life in a brief, concise, and full manner is next to impossible, but we will do our best.

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Queer Women and AFAB People During the Holocaust

For our fourth article in our World War 2 series, we will discuss something often glossed over: the experiences of queer women and AFAB people throughout World War 2. Before we delve into that though, we must give a content warning.

This article contains mentions of forced sex work, corrective rape, and forced pregnancy.

This suffering of queer women and AFAB people is not to be taken lightly. In the theme of our articles, it would be irresponsible of us to overlook this part of history. It would be just as irresponsible, however, for us not to warn our readers about potentially triggering topics. If you can continue reading, we encourage you to do so. If you are not, next week, we will discuss the life and efforts of Josephine Baker.

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Institute of Sexology, a Place of Learning

For our second plunge into WWII, we'll be looking at an equally compelling site of queer progress: Institut für Sexualwissenschaft. This roughly translates to 'The Institute of Sexology.' Founded by Magnus Hirschfeld and Arthur Kronfeld in Berlin in 1919, the Institute was revolutionary. It laid the groundwork for a legacy of acceptance and intellectual understanding of the human body, only to be ripped apart by the powers that saw its work as “too progressive” or “too crude.”

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San Domino, Gay Island

With our fifth article, we begin our first themed series and our first discussion of an event rather than a person. We will be looking at World War 2 and the role the queer community played in the events before, during, and after. This article specifically will focus on pre-war individuals and events, and will not be the last of its kind. We hope to keep things in chronological order as this series continues, but don't be surprised if things get a little muddled.

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