California Teachers Association

August / September 2017

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J E R R Y S L O A N A N D J E R R Y F A L W E L L were best friends as classmates in the 1950s at Baptist Bible College in Spring- field, Missouri. Both became clergymen. Fl a sh f o r w a rd t o th e 1 9 8 0 s a s t e l - e v a n geli st a n d c on s er v ativ e a c tiv i st Falwell went on to become the Moral Majority leader and Sloan founded two gay churches. After hearing the hate- ful , vicious things Falwell said on his nationally syndicated T V show, Sloan showed up at a local Sacramento televi- sion show where Falwell was appearing. Sloan rose from the audience and con- f ro n t e d Fa lw e l l a b o u t th e m a li c i o u s statements made on TV. "It's an absolute lie," Falwell shouted. "And I' ll give you $5,000 if you can pro- duce that tape." Sloan did. In what has become known as "e tale of the two Jerrys," a municipal court judge, and later an appeals court, ordered Falwell to pay up after Sloan shared a tape of the broadcast. at was in 1984. Ultimately, the payment topped $8,900, and Sloan used the funds to help start the Sacramento LGBT Community Center (saccenter.org). Funding the oral history project Sloan's story and those of other Sacra- mento-area LGBTQ+ pioneer activists have been recorded and made into short v i d e o s throu g h a Si erra C o l l ege oral histor y project called " The Spectrum Archives: Narratives of Courage." Si erra C ol l ege, lo cat ed in Ro cklin , Placer County, is one of three community colleges statewide that have a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Department. It offers an associate degree program with an interdisciplinary, mul- ticultural major that emphasizes the history and culture of LGBTQ+ persons and covers the ways that sexual orienta- tion and gender identity and expression intersect with ethnic, racial, socioeco- nomic and political identities. Sierra College Faculty Association pres- ident and LGBT studies faculty member Johnnie Terry and colleagues had been contemplating a small-scale oral history project, one in w hich students could record their experiences at college. Terry had created an academic standing com- mittee focused on retention of LGBTQ+ students and staff. "We called it Spectrum because acro- nyms kept changing," explains Terry, who was recently honored by the Community College Association. "ere is a spectrum of orientations." Spectrum was working with the direc- tor of the college foundation , Sonbol Aliabadi, to raise startup funds for the project. Aliabadi arranged a meeting between Terr y and her friend , former A ss e m b ly Me m b e r D e n n i s Ma n ge r s , dubbed by news media as the "Gay Godfa- ther of Sacramento." He helped the story take another direction. Mangers, who was seeing his friends aging, pitched the idea of an oral his- tory project featuring Sacramento-area LGBTQ+ pioneer activists. "I went back to campus feeling like I m e t a tr uly g re at m a n ," s ay s Ter r y. He c ont act ed hi s c o l l ea gu e, instr uc- tor and videographer Angie Coughlin, w h o re search ed c o st s and w rot e th e proposal. Mangers provided funding to start the project. Neglected history comes to light T h a t w a s o v e r t w o y e a r s a g o . To d ay, stu d e n t s c a n t a ke a o n e - u n it L G BT Q + n a r r a t i v e c l a s s a n d a v i d - e o g ra p hy c l a s s . T h e n t h e y h av e t h e opportunity to participate in Interview- ing LGBTQ+ pioneers in the Sacramento region. Coughlin works with advanced videography students who scan photos and articles for " b-roll" in the videos, and oversees the conversion of over 60 hours of raw fo ot a ge into 15-minut e short documentaries, or shorts. Student intern Kate McCarthy became deeply involved in the project. McCarthy, who had been a K-12 teacher, retired six Narratives of Courage Sierra College oral history project honors Sacramento LGBTQ+ pioneers By Cynthia Menzel Photos courtesy Spectrum Archives Sierra College Faculty Association president Johnnie Terry 62 cta.org Teaching & Learning H I S T O R Y

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