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Title: Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Baker, Quinton E., interviewee
Interview conducted by McGinnis, Chris
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 324 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-01-03, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0838)
Author: Chris McGinnis
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0838)
Author: Quinton E. Baker
Description: 271 Mb
Description: 88 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 23, 2002, by Chris McGinnis; recorded in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Chris McGinnis.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002.
Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Baker, Quinton E., interviewee


Interview Participants

    QUINTON E. BAKER, interviewee
    CHRIS McGINNIS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Hello, this is Chris McGinnis, today, is Saturday, February 23, and I am interviewing Mr. Quinton Baker at his home in Hillsborough, North Carolina. This tape is a continuing series of interviews that will contribute to Gay and Lesbian Southern History Project, which is part of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC Chapel Hill. This project is currently focusing on the history of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history in Chapel Hill and the Triangle area over the twentieth century. This tape will be stored in the Southern Historical Collection, which is located in Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The number for this tape is 02.23.02-QB.1, here we go. Well, first off Quinton, just to—this is a general question that I ask everybody, tell me a little bit about where you were born, where you grew up and, just as general synopsis of the early years. [Laughter]

Page 2
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The early years. I was born in Greenville, North Carolina and I spent the first eighteen years there. I was born in a family of four children. I am the youngest of four. My parents were laborers. My mother was a domestic, my father was a laborer, we lived in town, at that time, Greenville was about 21,000 people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What did your father do, did he work in a textile mill?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
My father did various jobs, he worked in a furniture store, he sometimes worked in the fields, he worked in the tobacco factory, so that there was never one job, there was just a series.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
A variety.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
A variety of jobs, he even learned to repair televisions while he was working for the furniture store, but he was never really compensated for that, so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, you had two brothers and a sister?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I had two brothers and a sister. I have my sister—My oldest brother and my sister are still alive, I lost a brother a year and a half ago to cancer and so both of my parents are deceased, most of my immediate family are deceased except—basically it is just me, my brother and sister, my nieces and nephews that are still here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
When, as you were growing up in Greenville, when did you start realizing that you were different and potentially a gay, a gay man?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I guess realizing that I was different was very early. I don't know about putting a name on it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Probably very early realizing that I was very different, but different for various reasons, it didn't have anything to do with sexual differences as much as what my

Page 3
interests were. I was more interested in walks, sitting by the river, reading—not interested in what most of the males were doing, during my period, which was more hanging out at the pool hall, that kind of thing, that was not my interest, and so that made me stand out, and I guess I realized that—well, probably very young, I probably realized it when I was very young and I wanted to—I was in a dance recital and I wanted to dance, and my father was not going to hear of that, so those kind of things just kind of made it stand out for me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see, I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
But, you know, in terms of—I don't really know any difference in terms of sexual kinds of things because in that period, there were all kinds of sexual fooling around with young people, boys with each other, so it—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was just common in everyone's growing-up experience.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, some people did, some people didn't, it was sort of a common thing, but no one made it, it wasn't, "This makes you one." One way or the other. Probably the point at which I realized that there was a difference in terms of sexual perspectives might have been high school.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And that was probably because one of the people that was very openly gay and flamboyant in high school, and was always ridiculed by the principal and I was always befriending him, so— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see, were you scared to be associated with the flamboyant one?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No. No, I was not afraid to be associated with him. I mean, I had gone through enough of being called various names, "sissy" and other things that that didn't

Page 4
bother me. Obviously, it bothered me, it made me uncomfortable, but it didn't keep me from associating with—I never really liked to see anyone put down or hurt or ostracized and so the more that they would sort of taunt Lester, the more that I would try to be there to say, "You know, there are people who are not friendly, or who don't—"
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You extended a friendly hand to Lester.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh, Lester, you know, Lester was quite capable of— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Doing that on his own—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Of defending himself. [Laughter] But he was always, he was in need of someone to talk to, or someone to hang out with, and I would do that, yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This, the school that you grew up in was segregated I take it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yes, I grew up in segregated North Carolina. This was C.M. Eppes High School, it was the all-black high school there. It was sometime long after that—You have to remember that my next birthday, I will be sixty years old, so I am not— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, well, you hold it very well.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I am, and so that, I grew up in a segregated environment, I grew up in a community, you did not think about it so much. The time that you thought about segregation was when you were interacting or were in an environment where whites were around. Otherwise, you did not think about it. I mean, it was the normal course. Obviously, I thought about it as I got older in high school, but during that period, is how I grew up.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, right. Did you grow up with the white community very much?

Page 5
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Only because I worked in high school, I was— [pause] In order to prevent going into the tobacco fields and prime tobacco in the summer, I had a year round job. I didn't sell, I shined shoes in downtown Greenville at a local shoe repair shop.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So, I did that every day after school, and then I did it all day. So, I entered, so most of my customers, most of the people that came in were, who actually got shoeshines were white. There would be a few, but not many, African Americans that would get a shoe shine. So, that kind of interaction and the other interaction would be in terms of buying clothes or things of that nature, but there was no other interaction with whites.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I don't blame you, I would do anything that I could not to go out in the tobacco fields. [Laughter] Anything at all.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I started out there, I started, there was trucking tobacco, and this is one of those incidences where you get to know that you are different, because I wasn't very good. Because I was first of all, afraid of horses, and so one can't truck tobacco particularly in that period if one is afraid of horses because one has to get behind them to hook the wagon up.
And so, I was not, I was never very good at doing those things that my father thought I needed to do as a male. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To be a man.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
To be a man. And so, that always stood out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was your father always kind of pushing you into the manly roles in general, or was there just a—

Page 6
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I think that my father knew that I was different, wanted desperately to somehow not, to correct this, to make me not different, so that he gave me a hard time often about being different. Sometimes he would raise questions with me like, "Why do you have to be so different?" And it wasn't like anything other than I talked differently than most of the people around me. The way that I did things was different, and so he would, I tended to talk more to adults than I did to people my own age, I think my father was just genuinely worried that I was setting myself up for a miserable existence and so he was trying to protect me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It did not make our relationship work very well, but— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But you knew that he had good intentions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I was born [pause] I am the youngest of the four. Probably, without being conceited, probably came out with a slight degree more intelligence, so for a number of years, I was very smart, quick to learn, very curious, very independent, not willing to be told, "Do it because I say so." And leave it at that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, that sounds very familiar. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Always having my side of the story and my father was a very traditional man that said, "I say it, you do it, you don't question me, as long as you live under my roof, you do as I say—" And so he had difficulty with me just because of the personality. Also because I was the only kid that worked all of the time and had my own money, and then we had fights about money, because of course at that period, more so than now, if he wanted to, he could go and have my employer pay him and not pay me, so— [Laughter]

Page 7
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That could be a big sticking point.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, but he didn't do that, but he made—it was understood that I was to give him half of my earnings, how ever small they might have been. And that was kind of difficult when you are making thirty dollars a week or something like that, you have got to give fifteen to your dad. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, it was not easy.
So, was Lester the first openly, well, I wouldn't—gay person, I was going to say openly gay person that you ever remember interacting with?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, because there was a teacher that was commonly known that he was, "Funny" there were people in the community. It—I don't think the lines were as clear and as sharp as they are now. I mean, everyone says how homophobic the African American community is. I think that the African American community appears more homophobic since desegregation than prior to desegregation.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, I remember reading this.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I don't recall the kind of things that people do now, when I was growing up. I mean, the, this particular teacher was also the choir director at the church. He was kind of swishy, but he was never really ostracized. He may have been talked about being, "funny" but no one really cast him out. They took advantage of his abilities to teach and his abilities to conduct a choir. So that, you know—and Lester—the only reason that Lester was pointed out was because he was so flamboyant and he was flaunting. It was more of his feminism than it was the fact that he was in fact gay. I think that was the fact of it. So, it is hard for me to think back to, "Well, when do you first interact?" Because I interacted with people who were gay, who may have been gay, or who I later discovered

Page 8
were gay all of the time in terms of that community, but there was not, we were not segregated in our community as a little clique of people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, there was not the gay people in the black community.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right, it wasn't the gay people that were in the black community.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They were just there—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
They were there—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They were there and people did not massively care.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
People knew, people did not make a big deal about it, but somebody may have talked about it behind somebody's back. Oh, they would taunt, other kids taunted, you know, the way kids do—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
—but it wasn't it wasn't a political or social issue that created an element in our community or culture that was either outcast by the rest of the community, you know. "Oh, you can't deal with them because they are gay. Oh, you can't talk to this person, or you shouldn't be involved." I didn't experience any of that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that, could you say after desegregation, this may have made more, do you think that religious right played a role, and the movement of the religious right played a role in that "ostracization" of gays within the African American community, or the representation of homophobia within the African American community, or the representation of homophobia within the African American community?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I am sure that that probably happened and that had something to do with it. I think that what, and it is very hard to think about this. I think that as deep segregation

Page 9
took place and there was more interaction between African Americans and whites, I have noticed that African Americans have taken on more of the cultural standards that whites had. Being anti-homosexual, I think, was stronger in the white community than it was in our community and we have gotten—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
More mainstream—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
More mainstream, and because of television and a whole number of things, all of those kinds of things have come to play, and I think that the African Americans are expressing. I still don't, maybe I am naive, I still don't think that African Americans are as anti-gay as people think they are. I think that there is more of a tendency to—for instance, I—we interact with some older African American members of communities that I worked in. And many of them, I think, most of these people know I am gay, it is not something that they want to talk about, it is not something—but I am a dearest friend. There is nothing that they wouldn't do for me. So, the question is, you know, given where they are coming from, given their level of understanding, to what advantage is it to me to force this issue on them. They know I live with Ron. They know where we live, they know the house, they come here and do things, they know we do almost without each other, so what, who are we fooling? [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, exactly, exactly. It is an unspoken thing.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It is an unspoken, sort of, it is about me, it is about us as people as people rather than about us as sexual beings.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I have seen that generally, I think that that may be a southern standard too, because as long as you don't talk about it, it is all right. Now, if people become gay activists in the sense of continually fighting for gay rights, and you are talking about it.

Page 10
One of the biggest things, I think for people in the South, is not that people are asking for those rights as much as they are actually talking about this thing that is best left unspoken, which most sexual things are in southern societies.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, most sexual things. Anything that is different is left unspoken in the South. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
People don't talk about it.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You know, I mean, I think that it is evident in terms of what is going on with the Latino/Hispanic population, and that is the southerners have a lot of difficulty dealing with difference, regardless of where that difference is, we would rather you pretend that there is no difference there than you to call attention to the fact that you are different.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So, that seems to be what I experienced. But I just think that, you know, it is—there have been gay choir directors in African American churches since—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
From the beginning of time.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
As long as I have been black. [Laughter] And so it is not, even with ministers in terms of who say that we have not gay people in their church. I mean, obviously they can't even possibly think, if they turn around and look, and many of the ministers themselves are gay so, you know, I don't know what that uncomfortableness is, but I do think that there is, there is a negative reaction to what I think African Americans think as being white. Being gay is more a white thing. Even identifying or using "gay" to describe who you are, comes from a white culture and not for an African American culture. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, okay.

Page 11
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And so, you know, I think that is part of what you are getting at.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, so, from high school, 18 you graduated, did you always plan on going to college? Is that what your plan had been, did you get a lot of encouragement?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah I got lots of encouragement to go to college.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did any of your other siblings go to college?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, my oldest brother went to college. My parents were very big about education; my parents were interestingly, very middle class for poor people. [Laughter] Culturally middle class for poor people. They never forced us to stay out of school to work. In fact, the one thing that all of us had to do beyond anything else is that we all had to finish high school. Whether we chose to go to college was a choice that we individually could make, but we had to finish high school. There was no choice in that, and so that, I always planned to go to college. It is interesting, you see, I did not do well academically in high school until ninth grade. I was—I had a buddy and we used to hang out and party and carry on and we did that until at the ninth grade, he stayed back and I went forward.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you lost the bad influence.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And so, I lost the bad influence [Laughter] and then I started to do well in school, and so I got a scholarship to go to Central.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, tell me a little bit about going to Central. Was—what were you early memories of that in the first year or two? Because you did not finish your degree at Central, correct?

Page 12
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, nope, nope, nope. I was at Central for three and a half years, almost four years, the reason I did not finish my degree at Central was because I was sentenced to prison.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was an interesting time; I think that going to Central was the first time that I was with a group of people that clearly identified themselves as members of the group, members of the family.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The gay people.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The gay people, yes, yes. [Laughter] I was trying to remember the term, because there were always, there were two terms used when I was in college. One identified us as a people of color, as separate from white people that we used when white people were around as a way of—and the other was the identification of the small group of gay men that were a part of it. [pause] My—I am trying to remember my first year at Central. Gosh, it has been a long time now. There were a few friends that I had at Central who were gay, or whom we hung out together around the campus, or did things together. One of them was a—turned out later became a roommate who was from Kannapolis, Morris Johnson, I don't know if you—and [pause] and the others were various and sundry other people, they were the people that were gay that hung out together, and there were the people that we thought should be gay who didn't hang out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who had girlfriends.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But interacted sexually.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, but a lot of my—

Page 13
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And for our listeners, we should say N.C. Central University, which is in—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Durham, yeah, it was North Carolina College at Durham, at the time. It is now known as North Carolina Central University. Because I became active in the civil rights movement early in my career at Central, actually in my first year at Central—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What got you interested in it, was it something that—?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Actually, it was something that started before I left high school. I always resented not being able to do things, or being told that there was a limit as to what I could do, and so that the movement to change that was very important to me, not so much—because it would change the way that I could interact with the world. I often use, you know, coming from Greenville, you know that East Carolina University is there now. It was East Carolina Teacher's College at the time. When I was growing up, the only thing that a person of color could do on that campus was work in the kitchen or as a janitor. We were not even allowed to attend performances or anything over there, and I remember very clearly early on in my career, I mean my life that there was a performance—I think it was Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians or something that was over there and I wanted to go because I was singing in the high school choir and I was not permitted to go and it was those kinds of things that—it was going downtown with my mother and not being able to get something at the lunch counter, or dealing with the segregated signs which made it very easy for me to become engaged in the civil rights movement. There is not particular impetus at school, or there was no incident, it was just that this was something that I needed to do.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was a continual life trend that you were just following through with.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, right, this was just—

Page 14
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, there were already organizations that were, as with any college, that were activist in nature and—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was the student NAACP that was active on the campus that was very active. The sit-ins had begun in the year before—had begun in the spring, I entered school in the fall, so there was one of the people engaged in the early sit-ins in Durham.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was 1960?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
1960 was Lacy Streeter, who was from Greenville, and I was in school with his brother, so there was some connection, so when I came to Central finding that group of people who were actively engaged was what I looked for, so—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, great. So, obviously demonstrations started happening on the sit-in level in the different areas and the local level. What brought you to Chapel Hill? Why weren't you demonstrating, or maybe you were demonstrating in Durham? You were demonstrating all over? Tell me a little bit about the demonstrations.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, I was very much engaged in the movement in Durham, by the time I became the president of the student chapter of the NAACP on the campus, I was involved with the Durham youth group that was involved. I was one of the leaders around Floyd McKissick during the period of time, we had a major thrust in Durham to desegregate Durham in 1962, '63. We had massive demonstrations downtown, we had boycotts of the stores and we were having, we were doing mass rallies in the evening. At one of the mass rallies in Durham.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was this made up predominantly of college aged students?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Or was it from the community as a whole?

Page 15
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was from the community as a whole. It was high school and college, and the college students were not that, you know. If you look at the core of us, it was a core of a few of us from college and a few students from Hillside High School that were really engaged and a few students from Duke, they came in later on, that were actually engaged in sort of the core activities of the student rights movement in and around Durham. Floyd McKissick at that time was the state youth, was with the NAACP, and was pretty much the legal advisor for the group in Durham, and so he was really sort of our mentor and it was through him that we spent a lot of our time planning demonstrations, planning the negotiations and talking to people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am sorry, what was his name again?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Floyd B. McKissick. You can't miss him, I think he was the first African American to attend the University of North Carolina law school in 1950-something, okay?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I knew he sounded familiar.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, okay, and so that was how we got involved. How I got involved in Chapel Hill was that at one of the rallies, when we were doing this massive campaign, John Dunne and Pat Cusick came to the rally and obviously, they sort of latched on to trying to get to know people in there and they had created this group in Chapel Hill that was engaged in trying to desegregate things in Chapel Hill, they asked for assistance in helping them to better learn demonstrations, to do the non-violent protest stuff.1 In addition to that, John Dunne and I began a relationship and that actually John—

Page 16
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Tell me a little bit about both of them. Describe John Dunne and Pat Cusick at that time.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, John Dunne was a Morehead Scholar from Brecksville, Ohio, who was quite gregarious, quite bright, and quite an opportunist. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
People told me he was quite attractive too.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He was—I guess so [Laughter] He was not—he was dark haired, he was actually considered black Irish, okay. He was quite attractive, he was quite the charmer and he was what have you, and that was probably part of the whole thing. Pat on the other hand was a southerner from Alabama, who was in the computer department at UNC. He was a student and he was working. He was a programmer.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I did not realize that there was a computer department in the 1960s.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, there was, he was a big person doing a lot of programming in computers. I tell him, I say, "Think of how wealthy you would have been had you—"
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—had you stuck with computers—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[Laughter] —stuck with computers." He was, but they, Pat particularly, were involved in the Student Peace Union and so there were, there was a connection between their efforts in the peace movement and the civil rights movement, and so in Chapel Hill there was Harold Foster who was an African American who was involved in this group and in various university people, but I cam primarily, how I got involved in Chapel Hill was during the summer of '63—I think it was '63—I am forgetting some of this stuff now, after the major thrust that we had in Durham to desegregate, we developed a group called the NAACP Commandos. And that was a group of 15 of us, that went around the state to assist communities in non-violent demonstrations.

Page 17
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I was going to say, it doesn't sound very non-violent. "Commandos!" Later known as the Black Panthers. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Probably most of us might have been, and I guess that I was assigned to Chapel Hill.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So that is how I got involved in Chapel Hill.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So describe Chapel Hill in 1962. Was there a gay bar at the time? Or a bar that had a gay influence? Did you socialize much there, or was it all activism?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was mostly activism. You know, it is really interesting, this is one of the things that I tried to tell—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The Tempo Room was kind of active around that time.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The who?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The Tempo Room
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Where?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was under, it is where Goodfellows is now, before that it was the Groundhog Café and it was basically across the street from Julian's, downstairs, and was a mixed bar. And so, that was one of the things, when I was reading the first chapter that was done by Jim Sears, which we will talk about later, I was thinking, "They keep not mentioning the bar, I have to ask him, did you go to the bar?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I didn't go to the bar, I did not know that there was a bar.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you know in the Durham-Chapel Hill area or anything in that there was there was any place that gay men hung out, because it was also not segregated?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Nope, did not know, did not go there.

Page 18
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Just was not your focus and not the way that you met guys, going to a bar.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, most of the time that I was going to Chapel Hill, I was involved with John Dunne. I spent most of our time together at his, he had a room in a wonderful house on Franklin Street. He had friends, Professor Spearman, Walter Spearman and his wife were all friends of John Dunne's. Most of the activities, most of the things that we did when we were in Chapel Hill was about the movement, it was about civil rights, it was not about gayness. I am trying to even think—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You can only have too many focuses.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, yeah, it just wasn't a place—We had friends and we knew people that were gay. I am trying to think, I did not even know that, because I used to make comments that there was not even a gay bar in Chapel Hill, that is how little we knew about that. I mean, we would do things like, I knew John Knowles. I think I talked to you about John Knowles, before. A Separate Peace is a book that he wrote, I could not think about it. He was at UNC and Reynolds Price was at Duke and John knew them, or knew people with them and we were invited to a party at John Knowles' house, or we went to a party. But you know, when we went to a party at someone's house, it was always mixed, I mean, it was not a gay thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, the gays were there and they seemed too—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Gays were there. I mean, John Knowles was gay, Reynolds Price is gay, they all, they had the parties, there were all kinds of young men around, I think that is the only one that I really remember there were, but that is the only thing that I knew, you know.

Page 19
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it kind of scandalous to people that not only were you in a gay relationship, but that it was a biracial relationship as well in this period of time? I mean, I guess that with a lot of people, this did not even register, you were just friends. Because people see what they want to see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, well it registered at the time, Floyd McKissick had left the NAACP and gone to CORE [Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights organization founded by James Farmer], Charles McClain had become the state youth advisor for the NAACP, and he complained to the national board that I as involved in a relationship with a white male and I had to go to New York, because I was state youth, I wasn't just the local—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, what was the issue, that you were involved with a male, or that you were involved with a white male? [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was an issue that I was involved with a male, I think, more so than it was that I was involved with a white male. So, that was more the issue. And it was an issue, which I refused to answer, by the way. I was brought to them and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You said that it was none of their business basically.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Basically, I said, that—Well, you see the charges were trumped up, it had to do with disloyalty, it had to do with not being loyal to the NAACP and being more loyal to CORE or something, which was simply not true and the issue was that I was the state youth president for the NAACP, so that made it an issue, but in that complaint, they also folded in this relationship with John and my "overprotectivness" and what have you with John.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, homophobia was an underlying factor?

Page 20
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah, I think, yes, yes, yes. But you see, it was very funny during the time, because the national youth secretary for the NAACP was a gay male, whom I knew, and who I had, we were friends. I would visit him at his home in Chicago and various places, so it was interesting that this would come up. And, he was supportive of me, and he was particularly much more supportive because I refused to, to give in to the inquiry.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wonderful, well, that is a perfect segue into me asking the role of gay people in the black civil rights movement as a whole.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
We were all over the place, we were all over the place. But the problem is that, that we were not—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that since gay men were different, that that was a way for them to have an outlet for activism for justice, or was it just that gay men were everywhere anyway?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
But they were very much fighting for justice, I mean they were very much; we were a part of that cliché. We were the intellectual, cultural sort of segment of the community that saw things necessarily different, but were willing to risk things. I mean, if you think about it, the person who planned, who actually planned most of the work on the March on Washington was a gay man.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was attacked by Strom Thurmond for being a "pervert."
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right, who was kept in the background—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I can't remember his name.

Page 21
QUINTON E. BAKER:
His name is Bayard Rustin, Bayard Rustin. But Laplois Ashford was the state youth, was the national youth secretary for the NAACP, I have no idea where he is now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Bayard Rustin is B-A-Y-A-R-D R-U-S-T-I-N?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right Bayard Rustin. And Laplois is L-A-P-L-O-I-S Ashford.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
A-S-H-—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
F-O-R-D. I think that there is an E in that. Boy, you are trying to, you are bringing back very interesting memories.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, that is a very interesting thing, because I felt like, I mean. A lot of people when I talk about the black civil rights movement are scared, they don't want, it is kind of a sensitive issue in some ways. [pause] And I think regardless of people's views that it is definitely, there were definitely a lot of people who were involved in the black civil rights movement—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And I think that it is am important thing to underline, because there were other reasons, it just happened that a lot of gay people got involved with it, both white and black—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
We were—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—and I think that that is interesting, because people say, "Well, I don't think the issue of gay rights is not nearly in comparison to the injustice—" and I agree at the time for sure, "—that the African American community was experiencing," and so they don't even want to talk about it, it is weird, and I just get a lot of tension, sometimes when I bring up the idea, but inevitably for whatever reason, I recognize that gay men

Page 22
played a big role, and it is interesting to understand why gay men got involved, both black and white in this movement.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I haven't a clue why we got involved, we were all over the place.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, maybe it was the intelligentsia issue, you [gay men] were the intelligentsia.
I have to think that there was commiseration as well on numerous levels, understanding the greater picture, from the white gay community.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I used to hope that the white gay community would understand. But I—But the things that I have seen form the white gay community, didn't suggest to me that they—they stated—from my experience with them—they stated—the white gay community, states the similarities, states the commonality, but in their actions, they don't act the similarities and commonalities.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Actions speak louder than words.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I mean, they still very much, protect their white privilege, okay? And you cannot protect white privilege and claim that you want to eliminate racism.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What would be a way of claiming or protecting white privilege? Give a physical example.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I know, for instance, historically there have been a number of white clubs that did not allow African Americans—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
White gay clubs?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
White gay clubs. Or, just clubs that would set policies up so that it would minimize the number of African Americans to come in. It was the kinds of names that they use, dinge queen, for whites who like black men.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I have never heard of that one.

Page 23
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You have never heard of a dinge queen? [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Maybe that is a sign of progress.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Maybe.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That did not foster a response from you at all, did it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Or a chocolate queen or just simply—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There were terms that would indicate—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
But, I think, more in depth, if you are going to do analysis about oppression and you are going to understand what is going on, you have to do a thorough analysis, so you don't miss the pieces that you contribute to in terms of the process. The economic, the social and political. You can't understand people's oppression and then turn around and say it is their fault or they need to do certain things to get rid of the oppression, if the certain things simply means mirror what white people are doing, okay? So, I think many white gays who may have—and I think that a number of people who join the movement, per se, came into it to help, okay. There is a problem with help.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, there is a difference from assistance and taking over.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right. And so that, it's, it's, it's that kind of thing that happen. I have seen happen. I think that people who stay in the movement long enough, or who understood.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You mean the black civil rights movement?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The black civil rights movement, not the gay civil rights movement. I do not know a lot of people; I tried to make that clear to Jim Sears, that it was not a movement that I had actively engaged in.

Page 24
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And a lot of white gays that were involved, like Joe Herzenberg hasn't ever really gotten involved in the gay liberation movement, he identifies more with the black civil rights movement.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You are probably burned out after working in one movement anyway.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I think that if you really do some significant analysis. If you are involved in the "Civil Rights Movement" but if you are involved to try to create a non-racist, oppressive society, it becomes applicable to all people who are oppressed, so that sort of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Whether it is women or blacks, or Native Americans, or gays—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, it gets diluted sometimes when we try to attach all kinds of incidents without really doing an analysis of where is the ultimate issue of oppression coming from? What does it mean for us to live in an oppressed society and what does it mean for this society to be structurally geared around oppression and racist nature, so that it. I mean, one of the things that this society is very good at, if you look at the current tendencies, if you look at what is happening with the Latino community for instance. You will notice that Latinos who come from African descent who—discernibly come from African are separated from those who are fairer.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, I don't know the community that well to discern that difference.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Turn on your television to a Latino channel and look at who has the starring roles and who has the more menial support roles. And, if you look at the census, this is terrible, but if you look at it, the category is "Latino," I forget what it is, but in some way it is an indication that one is—

Page 25
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Latino of African heritage—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Latino, but not white, or something of that nature, you know. There is a distinction in there that enables people, and basically—and this may be my cynicism, what is being set up in a sense, is that the country is worried about it becoming more people of color than white people in the country. So, if you can incorporate more people as white, then you can maintain the balance, okay. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Although, from what I have seen, the African American community is just making the statement by a certain date there will be a majority of people of color, which includes Latinos.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right, except, and what they are not seeing is the division that is taking place in the—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That certain members of the Latino community will identify with the white community more than the African American.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Absolutely, absolutely, they do already.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Exactly, well, that is what I thought too, and I recognized the political rhetoric, but I was like, "Are you sure you are going to win this population?" You know.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Not if you don't do a—and because many Latinos don't understand the nature of racism in this society or don't identify with the kind of racism that is experienced by African Americans, or don't recognize when they are in fact aligned—there is not a close identification, there is a battle there, okay? And then if you take the natural tensions that are being created because when the Latinos come in, the

Page 26
communities that they generally begin to take over are areas that were predominantly African American, the jobs are African American.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There is a lot of tension.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There is all of that tension and nobody is working to bridge that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I agree. And in the Latino community, you have a very small segment which seems to be of European decent, and then you have, what I have, from what I see is a majority of the population in terms of statistics—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, we are on side two or my interview with Quinton Baker. The number for this tape is 02.23.02-QB.2. The final part of that statement that I was making was that the overwhelming majority of the Latino population seems to be of Native American decent and there seems to be a small segment that appears to be of European decent and then another small segment of African origin and you were segueing into family.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I was simply saying that within the family, grandmother can be very dark and there be variations on color. The important issue here is the emphasis in which the society places on color. And it not only happens in the United States, but if you look in European countries, there is a division based on the color of one's skin. The lighter your skin, the closer to the power, the closer to economic success you have.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Whether it is the Turks in Germany or the whatever.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, right, so it is true in the Latin American countries and it is true here in the U.S.
But the primary issue that we are getting at is, that it is not that I don't think, for instance—I think that the issues that are very important to fight for within the gay community are issues that give people the same rights and protections that everybody else [has]. What I think we really ought to fight for, which nobody seems to want to do in this country, is the equal protection under the laws thing. So, that all laws that apply to any residents or citizens are applied equally to everybody else. Thus, you don't need new laws, for instance to—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, interesting.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You wouldn't need new laws that give us permission to marry.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You use what is on the books?

Page 28
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You use what is on the books, because, the constitution guarantees equal protection. But, no one, including the Supreme Court, is willing to enforce the equal protection laws.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, were you against a hate crimes bill, because you would rather enforce the laws that are on the books and make sure that that happens? Or would you recognize that they are not going to, so maybe a hate crimes law would be necessary.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, hate crimes laws simply point out that we need to do; we need to enforce the laws equally. Since we don't do that, we create another law, which we don't necessarily enforce. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, there is no guarantee that it will be enforced once it is passed.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So, we have hate crimes laws that have loopholes, in some instances it is used, but anything that will protect people's rights, protect people's safety and livelihood, I support. I am just saying, we really don't need to create all of the new laws that we do to protect us, if somebody would simply give us an interpretation and an enforcement of the equal protection under the laws. For instance, if they enforce equal protection under the laws, you would not need laws that permitted people of the same sex to marry. Because we have the same rights as anyone else, under there. But, because—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Unfortunately, recently there are have just been recent laws that have just made a statement that it can't happen.2
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, so they are creating special laws to keep us—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To exclude—

Page 29
QUINTON E. BAKER:
To exclude us. Though the Constitution and the Supreme Courts are not saying those laws are unconstitutional because you can't create laws to exclude American citizens from protection of other laws. So, I think, long story short, I support fighting for those kind of laws. I think that the fact that though we have built a household together, though we have all of these things and it would never happen because I know his parents very well, but Ron's parents, if something happened to him, could walk in here and demand—there is no protection here for us.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Demand—to take his things, or demand to take over medical decisions, or you name it, because you don't have rights as a spouse.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right, I don't have rights as a spouse. If he goes to the hospital, I would probably be admitted because our doctor knows our relationship, he would insist that I be allowed there, but outside of that environment, I have no rights, I have no rights whatsoever. I think those are issues that definitely need to be fought for. And it is just a question of where the energy, where you put your energy. At the same time, and the reason I say, where you put your energy—at the same time—and the reason I say where you put your energy, I understand also that there are, much of my energy and efforts goes into trying to help people understand and how to create healthy communities. How to create environments in which people can be healthy. How to create adequate access to healthcare, if you are poor and so it is a way of where you spend your time.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am going to run a few names by you. Armistead Maupin, of course you probably know him from his writing, did you know him while you—or know of him while you were demonstrating in Chapel Hill at all?

Page 30
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I forgot to ask Pat about that. I don't even remember him, I don't remember his being here. I really don't you were going to check, did you find his record that he was in fact here during that period?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, no. I have taken Jim Sears's word for it, which he basically says that he was writing and was anti and he was a segregationist at the time, writing for the Daily Tar Heel, but it was not seen as a massive liability on your part.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Was it before '64?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It should have been right when you were demonstrating in between, what was it, '62 to '64?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
'62 to '64.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, according to the writing of Jim Sears.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I will have to check that out.3
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—he was writing in the Daily Tar Heel. Now, that I live in Raleigh, it is more difficult for me to access those files.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, I know that Joel Fleischman was writing for the Daily Tar Heel. I know that—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was Joel a conservative?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, Joel was sort of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It sounds like he was Jewish.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, it is kind of hard.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, stereotypically, he would have been progressive.

Page 31
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, right. I don't remember anybody writing. I mean, I remember people writing for the Tar Heel, there might have been people who were against us all over the place. My life was not consumed in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill was—
Chapel Hill for me as a community was important primarily because of my relationship that developed with Pat and with John, it wasn't about Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill for me was, a wine-sipping, cheese-eating, liberal community. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
A privileged liberal community.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That talked again about desegregation and believing in our cause, but disagreed with how we were doing things, so I wasn't engaged. My engagement in Chapel Hill was going to the campus being the token spokesman at various and sundry things. But I was not really intricately involved—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To make them feel good about them being involved in the movement without them really taking actions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, yes, yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, so—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That is why we call them Chapel Hill liberals. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, yeah, talk a little more about Chapel Hill in general. What was your impression of Chapel Hill in the 60s when you were there? Apparently the police chief was somewhat, he was not as severe as other small towns in the south and in North Carolina.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Chief Blake was a decent human being that was caught in a very difficult dilemma, that was caught in a culture and environment that he believed in and had to

Page 32
enforce, but he didn't want to treat us without some respect for what we were doing. I mean, we liked Chief Blake; we could sit down and have a conversation with Chief Blake. Chapel Hill was this community that professed all of this great liberal tradition and belief in all of the social justice things, but if you looked at what actually happened on the campus, looked at the number of African American students that were enrolled in the campus, looked at what was actually desegregated—sure it had more desegregation than any other southern community ever on a voluntary basis, but it was because certain key individuals in this community made it possible. The Danzigers integrated or desegregated their restaurants, they owned a number of restaurants, that gave Chapel Hill more places.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The Danzigers always come up.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Dee Dee Danziger was very gay friendly.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, but he was also you know, that was, his restaurants were all desegregated, so that that made, that created an environment for Chapel Hill. One of the reasons that Chapel Hill became a focal point in the civil rights movement, was because it was clear that for a southern community, it had voluntarily desegregated all it was going to do.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, it had reached its point.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It had reached the point. And we knew in order for us to get a civil rights law that would eliminate segregation and public accommodation, we needed to point out that Chapel Hill was never going to voluntarily desegregate, which is what everybody was calling for at the time. Voluntary desegregation of the South, and we were saying, "It

Page 33
ain't gonna happen." [Laughter] And the way to demonstrate that was to target Chapel Hill, to make it a focal point of activity, okay?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But, could you get a better foothold in some ways in what they [Chapel Hillians and the police department] allowed you to do, and also why was the strategy Chapel Hill again?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Because really, what we really wanted to point out was that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The hypocrisy?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, that a community is only going to go so far in its voluntary desegregation.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Watch, we are going to poke it and it is going to start growling.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And it is not going to go beyond that, okay? And that the only way that the South is going to desegregate is if you are going to have to legally force it to desegregate. You are going to have to make it illegal to have segregated facilities—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were making it an example.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That is what we, yeah. Chapel Hill and the demonstrations in Chapel Hill and all of that activity was read into the congressional record when they were having to decide about a public accommodations law as evidence that the South was not going to voluntarily desegregate.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So in what ways further did Chapel Hill not go far enough at the time, I mean, obviously, the restaurants were, there was a liberal flair, there—but you said that there were not enough African American representation.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The theaters didn't.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The movie theaters?

Page 34
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The movie theaters didn't. A number of the restaurants didn't. Coswell Drug Store didn't. The Rockpile didn't.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was the Rockpile?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The Rockpile doesn't exist anymore, it was a Texaco Station on Franklin Street, right on Franklin and Estes, there used to be a grocery store there called The Rockpile. It was a grocery store, and black people could not go in the grocery store and buy food. The Pines Restaurant—I mean there was enough—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There was a little bit, but not—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It wasn't open, the community was not open for the citizens that lived on the north side to fully take advantage of everything that was in the town, okay? The University had, god, very few students on the campus. There was no, one of the things that would have helped had been Chapel Hill had passed an ordinance desegregating the town itself. If it had voluntarily eliminated segregation in its public accommodations, but it did not do that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was just desegregating the city-run agencies?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It didn't—it didn't—things only happened on a voluntary basis, where it happened voluntarily.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was no, there was nothing legal.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There wasn't a mandate.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was no mandate, at all. In spite of all the efforts to try to get a mandate from the town council and from Sandy McClamroch and those guys during the time, nothing happened. And all of the liberals from the University came and they—and

Page 35
everybody was trying. But, it was just the town. You still had the gap, and I think a lot of people didn't recognize the gap between the town and the academic community.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was the social segregation still, I mean, it is still there today if you really look at it, because after you pass Rosemary, you know on the other side or Rosemary, in that one section between Carrboro and Chapel Hill, it seems to be the black area.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's Northside, yep. That's always been there.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is interesting to me, as progressive as Chapel Hill, as you say, claims to be, how incredibly segregated it still is in terms of living accommodations. Of course, there are black professionals who are involved with the University who live in white neighborhoods, but there is still very much a very delineated line to where the black community lives.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Chapel Hill doesn't want poor people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, yeah, that's another thing. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay? Chapel Hill doesn't want poor people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well now, it has outdone even a lot of gay people. A lot of gay people are leaving Chapel Hill because they can't afford to live there.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, well no, who can afford to live there? The other problem is the [pause] I am trying to think, Franklin Street is divided between East and West. So, East is this end isn't it? East is up toward the Planetarium?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Uh, huh. And then the other side is near Carrboro.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, West Franklin Street toward Carrboro, most of that area, those were African American businesses along there.

Page 36
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And as Chapel Hill has grown, it is kind of squishing out—now in Eastside a lot of those houses are starting to be no longer black owned.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right. And where—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Gentrification.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And where University Place is it? Yes, that little mall there with the towers [Granville Towers] that used to be Chapel Hill High School.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, it did?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, and Lincoln Center, which is now the administrative offices, was the black high school.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, it was placed in a perfect place, because that is where the black population was.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Appropriate in the sense that it was near the population of the African American community.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, that is where it was, and the white high school was right there in the center of town, up on sort of a hill in process when I was there, the churches were segregated.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Of course, still pretty much are.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, well, you know, let's think about this. A lot of people talk about eleven o'clock on Sunday morning being the most segregated hour. Let's look at what is not segregated at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. It's the fundamentalist and the

Page 37
religious right. They have the greatest mix, why is that? It's not, I am not even so sure that is so much segregation as much as it is a different way of worshipping. The intellectual, intelligentsia of the white community is not going to deal with the emotionalism of black religion.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I was raised Lutheran and we would have looked down on that stuff whether they were white or black.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right and black people—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
We are high church, we are not like them.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And black people are not going to sit there and be bored. [Laughter] So, if you want to desegregate those hours, you have got to understand, there is a coming together of the religions. And the reasons that I say this is the Chapel Hill Bible Church sat right on the corner of Purefoy Road, right across the street from the Community Church, the Community Church, supposed has this great liberal tradition. Totally, completely white. The Chapel Hill Bible Church, fundamentalists, has all of these various ethnic groups, Chinese, African American, everybody going to this church, because the theology [liturgy, style of worship] is closer to what the tradition had been. What do you want?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is just a social and maybe cultural difference, I am not sure.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It is a real big cultural difference. And I respect cultural differences, I think cultural differences are important. What I can't, what I don't understand, or what I have not been able to deal with, is understanding what people call the 'gay culture' because I don't live a gay life in that sense. So, I don't know what we are talking about.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Gay life, obviously you are living a gay life in having a gay partner—

Page 38
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But you are not going to lots of gay functions and those kinds of things—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, the person who cuts my hair is not gay, my travel agent is. I am saying, you know, I am trying to figure out what that is supposed to be.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is different than other traditional cultures have been.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Other than the fact that—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because you are not born into a gay family, you are not that identity.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And when you set up household, what, you know, we live a fairly dull life compared to—we don't do bars, not that we have anything against bars, it is just we do not do them, it is not what we would do, we don't do, you know, I saw—so I have to stretch to understand what makes it a gay culture beyond the fact that one is involved in a same sex relationship.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
In larger metropolitan areas, of course, there are gay ghettos, there is a little town, whether it is the Village, or the Castro or whatever, there are several areas.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I lived in a gay ghetto in Boston, I lived in the South End. Its really not quite gay, it is kind of gay and yuppie—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Or DuPont Circle in D.C.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There are areas where there, you know, there are those gay things. And I guess that there are gay centers, and I guess, there are people who are thinking about taking advantage of downtown Durham where a lot of the buildings are just closed and turning that into a gay area, being the next phase, but as we see—when you are in an area that doesn't have that kind of population center, you really do have to work in terms of

Page 39
going and finding the gay people and working with them, but I can see where you are coming from. I didn't understand what you had said, when you mentioned it. But a lot of people that I had spoken with, especially people who had been involved in the black civil rights movement, said, "What is the gay community? Please show it to me, because, I don't really see the gay culture." You know.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, and a large part of it has to do, I think, with, I think in terms, if you are not in a large metropolitan area you wouldn't see a whole conglomerate of gay people interacting, but I think it is because there isn't a tendency in the African American community to segregate. As much as people say it, there isn't that tendency to segregate the population out that way.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But as long as you are quiet about it, you see, that is just the distinct thing that I get, you know. And that is a southern thing in a lot of ways. As long as you don't talk about it, as long as you don't make demands of rights, as long as you don't actively say, "This is my partner, I want to get married in this church," then it is just fine. You know, that is the issue.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh, I think that—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is there more acceptance, or are you just tolerated, maybe?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, probably. But—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You and I, as activists, come from the exact same template; we are just applied in different venues.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I was just going to say, I feel tolerated by white people a lot.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Exactly, exactly, there we go.

Page 40
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Exactly, I mean, and white people are very good as long as you don't demonstrate anything that is distinctively black.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Exact same tradition. So, that's the similarities and the comparison that I have been making with the two movements, and how interested I am in that many people who were involved in the black civil rights struggle, don't understand or necessarily relate well to the gay civil rights struggle, or their immediate response is, "You are comparing apples and oranges."
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh, yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But once you start talking about it with people, like you and I are now, we definitely recognize that we are on the same page.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, right, yeah. If you talk about the issues—I think that problem is that, I mean, I think for instance, if you read that article that Jim Sears just did, and if you were not gay and read that article, you have no—that chapter or whatever—[said with mild but obvious tone of disdain] you have no idea of what that's about, because what it seems to be is about celebrating cross—it seems to be—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Transgender?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, it is more of drag queens and drag queen culture and you are thinking, "Well, now is that the gay culture?"
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you are wondering, "How did I get that as Quinton Baker?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Absolutely, absolutely. [Laughter] You know, how.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
If somebody put me in this, I would be offended, and I am like, "I am not a drag queen, but I certainly would not be—"

Page 41
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I am offended, you know, [pause] I mean, we used to have a statement, that Pat and I used to make all of the time when we were in Boston, and I went to gay clubs once I was in the cities, I went to gay clubs, we danced. I understand that aspect, that there is a need for places where people can be free, they can express how they feel, they can relax, what have you. But, if you take "Queer as Folk" a lot of the stuff that I see on there, I go, "Wait a minute, what is this?"
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh really?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You know, what is it?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because, I see it, and I say, "They got it!" [Laughter] That is exactly the way it is.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Ah, I see.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That could be, I don't mean to anything bad by this, but that may be a slightly generational thing. If they had something forty years from now and I am watching it, I am like, "What is this, is this what we are doing now?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That kind of thing, well, some.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is a generational thing.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Some things I recognize, but to some degree, maybe it is. My sense is, for instance if you take Brian who is—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, Brian Kinney.4
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Who is constantly in and out of you know—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He is just screwing everybody—

Page 42
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He is screwing everybody, you know, there are probably are people doing that. But that is not really the way that I remember—first of all we spent too much time trying to figure out how, trying to figure out how we were going to meet people, or if you met someone, that was not the first thing you wanted to do.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, being in Chapel Hill, you probably just had limited interaction between John Dunne and Pat Cusick, but were you a witness, I am sure that they existed in Durham as well, in fact I know they did, but did you know about public sex venues that gay men went to? Because those were the areas where people like Brian Kinney were at, who might have that sexually charged kind of lifestyle.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I knew that people picked up people, or went to the bus station in Durham, but that is all I knew.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Uh, huh. Right, it was just not an area where you interacted, because you were very focused in the activist culture.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I was very focused in the activist culture. I was also very much romantic. I, you know, sex for the sake of having sex was never—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
An issue—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
—never an issue for me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
If you did not know and connect with the person, it wasn't going to happen.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It wasn't, wasn't going to happen. I just didn't want that. And if I met somebody and had sex with them, it was always with the anticipation, hope or dream that it was going to be something. I was always looking for a companion or partner; I wasn't looking for some—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
One night stand—

Page 43
QUINTON E. BAKER:
One-night stand. And I would never do public things. I mean, Jesus! [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is diversity within our culture. [Said in a silly voice]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, it is diversity within our culture. I accept that, but I just, you know, I like, all my life I have been trying to understand the glory holes. I just, what is satisfying?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What kind of gratification do you get by that kind of?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And I am not putting it down—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, no, no, no.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I want somebody to help me understand what that—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, I think that, and it is interesting, because when I interview people and some people put down my work because I talk about that culture. So I can probably give you my paper and you can read a little bit about it and understand it. But, there are different areas within the gay community, there are the, which I could probably talk about more. There are the public sex culture, there is the party circuit culture, there is the bar culture, the dinner parties, and there is the activist culture. And in general, those are the four areas.
Some people are active in all four. Some people are just in that niche, some people only have sex in public places because it is a big turn on and it may be repressed issues, and maybe they are bisexual, and maybe they are denial, maybe they are just gay men who like to have fun, so there is that segment, and that is applicable to all of the other areas, and so, anyway. It is interesting. I think that some people just find it very gratifying and exciting, kind of dangerous kind of thing. Maybe they are exhibitionists.

Page 44
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I guess. I guess I have always been, I mean I think one of the things that made it possible for me to function in and around Chapel Hill or be in Chapel Hill was the relationship. The relationship with John was very important to me. And it was being in that relationship and our being in the movement together that was a real strong force in our lives together, because John was very active, we demonstrated together, we protected each other—we were there—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were there for each other.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
The way we related as people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that people generally knew in the straight white community and everything else that you were in a relationship?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah, I think so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did they try to use it? Obviously, the NAACP, but did anybody try to attack the gay issue when you were being activists? Or was that something that was ever brought up?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is interesting. Because you would think that would be such a wonderful tool for them to utilize.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, but they didn't.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Actually that is one area in which civility was certainly practiced.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Civility was practiced because we were in and out of— [Laughter] I mean, we were.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you guys ever have any PDA, public displays of affection? Did you ever hold hands or anything like that in public or anything of that nature?

Page 45
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, no, we didn't do that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Some people had suggested that.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That we did?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, like hold hands or something.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, we didn't hold hands, we would sit close to each other, and we would touch each other.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Shoulder to shoulder.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Shoulder to shoulder or something or jostling around, but no, not, not any PDAs that I remember. But at my age, I may not remember anything. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you remember Perry Deane Young?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I do remember Perry Deane Young.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He still lives in Chapel Hill, he has moved back now.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, oh really?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I interviewed him. He lives in the basement of the Women's Center.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I do remember that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you remember Sam Hull. Not Sam Hull, Bill Hull.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I remember Bill. I remember the name, I doubt if I would remember the person if I saw him.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And those were known as gay people to you when you were there?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I think they were, you know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
If you had to through out a general percentage, how many gay men do you think were involved in the black civil rights movement in Chapel Hill? [pause] Was it a

Page 46
sizable percentage? Were they just some of the more notable personalities? Or were they just a few people? You, Pat, John, Perry Deane Young maybe, Bill Hull, they said there were others.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There were others, and I—I mean Harold Foster was sort of bi, I think.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was still a period of time when free love was still going on, people were more ambiguous. Harold, what was his last name?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Foster. You haven't run across his name in this?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I don't think so.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He is an African American. I can think of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Would you say that it was twenty percent in terms of leadership, was it almost a majority?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, in Chapel Hill the leadership was pretty much gay, yeah. But, I would say that the number of people participating, would say that it had to be maybe 20%, I don't know how many— [pause]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And a majority of the leadership or—?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
A majority of the leadership. If you think about it, it was me, John, and Pat, we were the key and then there was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you really called the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Unfortunately, that is how John Ehle referred to us in that book.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And that was the name of the chapter in Jim Sears.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, that is because he picked it up from John Ehle.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But you were not known as that.

Page 47
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, we were not known as that, we were known as John, Pat and Quinton. [Laughter] That is not what we were known as, no, no, no, no, we were not known as that, we were never known as that. No one ever called us that, or even referred of us as that. We used to tease and say, "Yeah, you were the holy spook." [Laughter] The interesting thing is that because our relationship was interracial and because we did something that was almost unheard of, because we did share a house in Durham.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How long were you together with John? Three years, four years?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Until '64. It was two, about three years. Yeah, yeah. Then it was very difficult for people not to know about the relationship. It was common knowledge at Central about our relationship. I am sure it was pretty much common knowledge here. John may have had more of a knowledge of our involvement in a gay circle in Chapel Hill than I. It is still, things were not as—there were few people and few places that black people were being invited to come in and participate fully, so they [Chapel Hillians] may have not. I mean, you know, we still have to remember the kinds of things that we had, you have to remember. You know, Pat was evicted from his apartment because I visited him on Spring Lane and because I stayed there a couple of times, and you still had things happening in people's lives.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So tell me about this court thing. Well, the culmination of your, you know your demonstrations and so forth, how it led to having a court appearance, which led to—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
A court appearance? [Laughter] Yes.

Page 48
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I didn't know quite how to phrase it. You were seen before a judge. Tell me about the judge and tell me about the charges and tell me about the results of that for you, John and Pat.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, first of all, we were—Chapel Hill being a major thrust in '63, we really created havoc in Chapel Hill with the demonstrations, we had people sitting across the streets which were bigger then than basketball games. We had people who were doing massive demonstrations in the middle of the street. And so we were then—the official charge was obstructing traffic and resisting arrest. We were tried here in Hillsborough at the Orange County Courthouse.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was there not a courthouse in Chapel Hill at the time?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, but we were county, there was a courthouse in Chapel Hill.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Then why were you not tried there?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Now was there a courthouse? No, there wasn't because the post office. What is now the courthouse, was the post office in Chapel Hill.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, I think that it serves as both.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, at the time it was just a post office, because the old post office was just a post office where we had demonstrations and those things. I think that the county had jurisdiction, I think that it was a different process at the time, so we weren't tried in a municipal court; we were tried in the Orange County Superior Court. Perhaps it was relative to the indictment. But, we were tried in Hillsborough. Judge Raymond B. Mallard was the judge, who was really very much opposed to what we were doing and part of the way in which he punished us was that he—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The charges sound very limited, I mean—

Page 49
QUINTON E. BAKER:
They were limited.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
what were they again? They were obstructing traffic—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And resisting arrest.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which normally would just get a slap on the wrist.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you got these very miniscule charges.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Very miniscule charges, a lot of them.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
We did it twenty-five times. [Laughter] So every time that this happens, they had the police—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Every time they arrested us, every time we allowed ourselves to be arrested, then we would have charges at the—. We didn't get any—we might have had a few trespassing charges also against us. But the real charges that we were taken to court on was the obstructing and there were a large number of us. There were several of us, in fact, but what Judge Mallard did was to, since he knew that we were all students, he would not set a trial date or give us a calendar, he would make us come to court and we sat there for six weeks from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, he would not allow us to read, he would not all of us to talk, or anything, we had to sit there in the courtroom and be quiet and listen.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is it fair to say that he was probably, that he was a racist? That he was pro-segregation.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh, yes, it was fair. I think that it is fairly fair. I think that was definitely trying to punish us, and punish us beyond what he though he could do in terms of court-wise.

Page 50
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Every thing that he could possibly think that he could do, he was going to do.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And he identified those people who were in leadership positions, and he made sure that we got difficult sentences.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was cutting off the head of the snake.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, right, yes. And so when I was tried, when each of us was tried he would pass, what was then the solicitor, it is now the attorney general, he would ask the solicitor if we were leaders. And then the solicitor would give some indication of his knowledge about our involvement in the movement. I was particularly targeted because I was the sort of mastermind of the demonstration. We would plan the demonstration, what we were going to do, but I would be the one to execute it and carry it out. And so, when I was tried, when Judge Mallard asked if I were a leader, the solicitor responded, "Your honor, if this were a Western you would call him Ramrod."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And he [the judge] thanked them and said this isn't a Western, but he is still, so that basically what happened is that we all got fairly excessive sentences.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there demonstrations outside of the courthouse when this was going on?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, because most of us were inside. [Laughter] The leadership and everybody that was pretty much involved were in court together.

Page 51
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, do you think that the judge was basically in cahoots with the prosecutor in saying, "We think they've—how are we going to get rid of this problem, this is how we are going to do it?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
We had embarrassed Chapel Hill and Orange County.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And so now there was a price to pay.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was a price to pay.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Embarrassed in the sense that you had exposed how progressive they really weren't?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, the Southern Part of Heaven turned out to be a little bit north of Hell. [Laughter] No, it was just that I think that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You exposed it for what it was, and now there were ramifications for hurting their names as a progressive—.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, that's right. There were a lot of people who were even supposedly supportive of us who were offended by the image that we had created of Chapel Hill particularly since it had gotten national. It wasn't just a local thing it was national image. So there was price to be paid for creating this kind of havoc in this wonderful serene community and in Orange County.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It hurt their pride, in terms of being represented—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right. And so there was no protest from University people or anybody about the sentence.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wow.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was nothing in terms of the harsh sentences that we got.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you, Pat and John the only people sentenced to prison?

Page 52
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, no, me, Pat, John, Buddy Tieger (his name is Joseph by the way, we call him Buddy), there were Lou Calhoun, there were probably eight or nine of us that were sentenced.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you all sentenced to the same amount of time?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, and we went to different places, different prisons.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
All eight of you?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, pretty much. Well, John and I wound up in the same prison.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You and John?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Me, John and Lou Calhoun. It was really strange, first of all—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was the sentence?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Mine was a year and a half. I don't know what the others were total.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you expect jail time or was it a surprise?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I expected jail time. What they did was, they thought—McKissick tried to get me off, or tried to get me off by telling them that I was scheduled to graduate in June and so—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was your attorney.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes. What the judge did was simply hold up Capus for Commitment until June.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Capus for Commitment, what is that?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, when you are sentenced, there is a commitment form, or there is a thing where they either take your right away, instead of them taking me right away, they issued a thing that I had to turn myself in on a particular date in order to serve my jail time. He was allowing me to graduate, supposedly.

Page 53
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But, simultaneously, you were in court, so of course you couldn't.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
There was no way that I was going to graduate, it was just a ploy that McKissick was using trying to get minimal or trying to get me paroled or something.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, he just—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So he made an example, he was like, "Okay, we'll show you what we'll do." He won't have to go to jail right away. [Laughter] We are going to be kind.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
We are going to be distracting him the entire time.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Which was, which was more difficult for me because everybody else who was sentenced, went right away. I was out for a month, this was in April. I think I had a month and about a half that I was out running around knowing that on a particular day—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you think about leaving entirely?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, no, I was going to turn myself in, and so my friend—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it part of the passive resistance kind of thing?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I wouldn't do that [run from his sentence]. So that, Walter Spearman, who was John's and my friend, picked me up that day and brought me to the Orange County Jail where I turned myself in.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Where? Did you stay in the Orange County Jail?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Overnight.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And then what was the jail that you were sent to?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Then I was sent to Sandy Ridge which is right outside of Greensboro and then from Sandy Ridge, they transferred me to Morganton. And Morganton is where John and Lou and I were and Pat stayed at Sandy Ridge.

Page 54
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you get press coverage while you were in jail or when you were being transferred in?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were just an understood casualty of the civil rights movement.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And people going into it, knew that there was that possibility.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, I mean, I had been sentenced to jail before. I was sentenced in Goldsboro and I served thirty days in the county jail there, so that was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was jail like? Was it pretty—I mean obviously jail is terrible, but—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Jail, prison, which one?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Either one, jail or prison. I am sorry, I mean prison.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay. I was telling somebody, I think I was telling Ron's father just recently—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it dangerous?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, we were in a minimum security institution.
The reason that we were sent far away, Morganton is, as you know, west of here. The reason we were sent far away—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Sam Ervin, that is where he is from.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right. They knew that we would not cooperate if they put us in a segregated prison. They knew that they would have had a hunger strike; they knew that would have had difficulties. I mean, there was no way, and I think that either the governor or somebody made it clear that there was no way that we were going to do all of this for

Page 55
desegregation and then accept being put in a segregated prison and do nothing. So, they transferred us to—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To avoid a reason to demonstrate.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
They transferred us to places where there were desegregated prisons.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was Terry Sanford the governor at the time?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wow.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Terry Sanford was the governor at the time. And so, prison was, we worked not like you see them on the highway now, we cut down the trees and we burned the bush and we built roads in the dead of summer in the heat. It was very much. We were—the prison was a dormitory, so it was like split. There was a hallway in the middle, there was sort of a cell on this side and the bunks were sort of around the wall like that, with the door was here, the TV would be over the door, and it was just two bunks per person. You were told when to get up, you were told when to go to bed. You were given a change of clean clothes once a week, you could take a shower every day, but you didn't have anything clean to put on. If there were enough guards on duty, we got yard time sometime after we came in. Mostly on weekends, we would get yard time, because when we came in from work, it was just dinner. You were allowed to write three letters a week. You had to have people on your list, people that you could receive mail from, you could receive a newspaper. Everything that came into the prison was read, people could send you money that was kept in a, sort of an account for you, you were given plastic dollars, and you could pull out so much of it at a time in order to buy candy bars or those sorts of things. You—it was interesting to talk to the people who were there, they were

Page 56
there for different reasons than we were. I wrote about twelve letters every week. I wrote my three—and people who were illiterate and didn't know what to say. I think that the most poignant thing about it is that you—being in there for the period of time that I was, which wasn't really—relatively speaking wasn't that long—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you spend the full year and a half?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I didn't, I served for four months and then Terry Sanford got us out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He just excused or pardoned you?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, they paroled us. I went to the University of Wisconsin on parole. And John went to Harvard on parole—he went to Yale, I'm sorry.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you and John maintain your relationship in jail, or was there not really any opportunity?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, we did not maintain our relationship in jail. There were opportunities, but I wasn't maintaining a relationship with anybody in jail, that was the common conversation around there. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Common conversation about homosexual activity?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Hooking up in jail.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Hooking up in jail. Drop the soap.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
All of the stuff.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you were not maintaining any kind of relationship—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This is the third side of my interview with Quinton Baker; the number for this tape is 02.23.02-QB.3. So, you never really got a chance to see John, John Dunne in prison. You might see him in passing—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I would see him in passing, I would talk to him through the bars, but we didn't really have a chance to interact, and part of it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You didn't want to have any kind of sexual relationship in jail?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And why? You seem adamant about that.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I did not want to have any kind of sexual relationship in jail.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you worried that if you were with one person, then that would lead to expectations of you being with other people, was there any threat of physical violence, it was minimum security, so—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was minimum security, it was a dormitory, and it was about survival. Prison is about survival.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, even being minimum security, it is about survival.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It is about survival. It is about being able. Survival involves more than just physical survival. It is the psychological and emotional support that you get from other prisoners. If you get identified as a "punk"—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Meaning someone who has sex?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Someone who has sex or someone is being used by other men in prison.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Exactly.

Page 58
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It does not, your survival gets compromised. Your ability to interact.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You are seen as a sexual object and not an equal.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right and you become that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Not as a peer necessarily.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right. And though I would—it was. I had to learn how to interact with prisoners in a way that could be social and have them respect me.
For instance, because I didn't look at the television and go crazy when there were beautiful women on there, or half naked on there, they had to respect that, okay. But I wanted them to respect that because that was the kind of person I am. I didn't want them to respect that by saying, "Oh well, you know how he is, this and that." I didn't want the identification of being gay to be what they saw as my motivation for my behavior, I wanted them to understand who I was as a human being. And my sexuality, however important, is only a part of who I am, okay? And I really would rather people learn and appreciate or dislike or what have you—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
See it as a facet, not as a whole package.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, please, you know, if you are going to hate me, hate me for who you have experienced me as being. Don't hate me for what you assume I am, by what you think I do sexually. And so, in prison I protected that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
Describe, I am backpedaling a little bit, but describe Judge Mallard. How old was he, what did he basically look like? Did he have a heavy accent?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, he didn't have a heavy accent. He was a reasonably, he was a small man, and if I remember him correctly, gosh you know, I don't really remember a lot about him. I know that he was not necessarily large in stature. He was relatively mild

Page 59
mannered. A bit of a southern accent, kind of paranoid, he was paranoid because I understand he used to go to the door with a gun in his hand after all of these trials and things, but I don't know, he just seemed to be hostile. And out to punish us.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he seem very biased on the bench, it wasn't like he—Did he make the decisions, or was there a jury?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, there wasn't a jury, he made the decisions.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was the judge and jury.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He was the judge and jury, there was not a jury involved.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And it was obvious, I mean, he wasn't hiding the fact that he was going to get you and while he was on the bench there was not even an attempt at—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, because if you would try to read something, or you tried to do something, he would haul your butt up there in contempt of his court. He told you that you could not read, he laid out the record.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were expected to sit there and look.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You were expected to sit there and look.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it easy to fall asleep in this situation when you were waiting for your court date?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You couldn't fall asleep. You couldn't fall asleep, you couldn't read, you couldn't talk, you just had to sit there.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was almost like prison or worse.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right. He created a prison of the court. And we did this for six weeks and if you did anything that he told you that you could not do in the room, he would call you up. He was stern.

Page 60
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he make multiple biased comments there, or was it just his general actions?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, it was just his actions. He didn't make any biased comments, he just let the facts be presented. I mean, by the time he got to us, he had gone through so many other cases; you were no longer listening to him. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had heard all of the other cases. You just knew that it was time to go through the motions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, yeah, oh, we were ready to jump up for joy finally when he said that we were going to be tried. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You know it's, he wasn't too—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was an unspoken thing, he wasn't like permeating this, exuding this, "I am out to get these people who have caused problems."
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He didn't put himself in any situation that people could—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Accuse him of being biased.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Accuse him of being cruel or being biased.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But everybody knew that under the surface that he had an agenda, and he was going to take care of things.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you knew that going into this?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, what do you mean going into it?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, I mean knowing that once you were going to go in front of this judge, he had a reputation of doing this kind of thing.

Page 61
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, he had no reputation of doing this as far as—He did this because of the civil rights movement in Chapel Hill. He didn't have a reputation that we knew anything about. Of doing anything like this before the—and I don't recall hearing anybody saying that he did anything after that was similar to what he did during this period.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was purely a persona thing because you attacked his home and his reputation. A graduate of UNC, or at least law school?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, yeah, probably. We didn't know much about Judge Mallard. We just knew Raymond B. Mallard. And you have to understand—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you ever run into him later in life, or not?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, no, no, gosh no. Never did. [Quinton knocks on wood]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because he is probably dead now.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Other people did. People told me stories about, you know, his paranoia and his divorce and things of that nature with his, but I didn't run into him. You have to understand that to a large degree, my focus and the focus that I spent a lot of time with, was about the movement and about civil rights and about improving that aspect of the life.
People who were white were white people, okay? [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, I just, I understand what you are saying, but it is kind of funny—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And so there were no expectations that they were going to be, there was never an expectation that whites were going to be, I mean there was effort to try to hope that somebody was going to respond differently, but there was never any expectation that whites were going to respond to me positively.

Page 62
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You always expected the work, and there was always a given that you would go into these places and there was a white person and they are going to be doing things to—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Particularly during this period. You have to think about it, I had been doused with ammonia and Clorox, I had been beaten up with broomsticks, I had been dragged down steps by police officers, why would I go to court and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess it is safe to say that you were relatively cynical that this point. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Why would I go to court expecting that I am going to find a nice friendly white judge sitting up there, and you know during that period, there were no African American judges around here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, right, right, I understand. It is important to be reminded of the perspective. [Laughter]
So what happened after court and jail, you said, you went to Wisconsin and John went to Harvard, and—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, John— [pause]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And Pat, where did he go?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Pat went to Boston. Lou went to Philadelphia.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you just were just dispersed all over the place, you had done your part.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
We didn't disperse voluntarily—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, were you required to not—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I was paroled to New York, where my parents had been forced to move, but I was paroled—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my god, what did your parents think of all of this?

Page 63
QUINTON E. BAKER:
My parents—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess they would be supportive, and yet their lives were massively disrupted.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Their lives were massively disrupted, they never asked me to stop, they never tried to pressure me to stop, though they got a lot of pressure from people in my hometown, which as you know is Greenville, as you know they got a lot from around the high school—trying to get them to get me to stop what I was doing—they never did, the only thing my father ever said to me was, "I wish you would leave those white folks alone."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But that was the most he said.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That was the most. They were—My mother was terrified of me, I can remember that when I was doused with ammonia and Clorox at that—someone sent the picture to my mother where I had fallen out the door—but the paper, they sent the picture from a newspaper—but the picture says, "Boy shot"—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my god.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And so my mother was always terrified that something was going to happen, but she never vocalized, she never told me about it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
She was not terrified of you; she was terrified that something was going to happen.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
She was terrified that something was going to happen to me, that I was going to be killed or something like that. They—eventually, they could no longer get employment. The way in which the white community tried to pressure them into stopping me was to make it impossible for them to make a living and that is why they had

Page 64
to move to New York. My mother moved first, my father came after them, and then my sister, so by the time that I was paroled, they were on Long Island, and I was paroled to New York.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did they live there for the rest of their lives?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, they lived there for the rest of their life. My mother always wanted to come back home, but she never did. When I was tried, Judge Mallard did not want to accept the fact that I was a native North Carolinian. No self-respecting—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
North Carolinian would do this.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Would do what I was doing. And so, it was easy when I was out, that I be gone, so that is why. And I was on parole for five years, so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So he knew the arrangement that you would be paroled to New York.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I think that Terry Sanford, John Ehle was an associate of Terry Sanford. I think—John Ehle had done the book —I think they decided before Terry Sanford left office as governor, that one of the things that he would do was to get us out of prison.5 But he did not make any—I mean, anybody who praises Terry Sanford for his great openness, he made a great liberal stance by simply wiping the slate clean, he went through the legal processes of having us paroled, but paroling us somewhere else. Now, they did work to get us—both me and John in school because we're still the ones. Lou, I think, had finished, so he got a job in Philadelphia. Pat was no longer a student, so he got work in Boston. So they made sure that we were either gainfully employed or in a school.

Page 65
Wisconsin accepted me two weeks after school had begun, so obviously somebody was influencing somebody there. So that is how we got out of prison—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So did you have a semester left when you went to Wisconsin?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
A semester? Yeah, right. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, you said three and a half years, I don't know.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I did three and a half years, but I lost twenty-four credits, I lost more than that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you had a year—no, no, no.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I had quite, I had two years—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, in the transfer process.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So, I was in Wisconsin from '64 to '67.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, and at that point, it was no activism, you were just concentrating—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, at first, I was still active, there is no way to take the activism out, one of the earliest things was to organize a—I was with the student human relation council there, and I helped organize a trip to the South for students to, so that they could talk to people who were engaged in the civil rights movement here, in North Carolina, and I did get permission to come back to the state to do that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What did you eventually get a degree in?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Trouble, no— [Laughter] Social and Political Philosophy.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, and what did you do with that once you got out? What did you do, what did you become in terms of your employment?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Gosh, I did so much. I don't know. I was the, I initially worked for the Poverty Program. I was part of a community action agency and then I directed the

Page 66
Milwaukee Inner City Arts Council, which was connected at that time to the movement of improving cultural awareness and sensitivity in the black community through the arts. And so, I was the director of that program. Then I, when I left there and I went to, that was in Milwaukee, and I left there and I went to Boston and I worked in the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs. And then I worked for another non-profit organization called the Education Development Center. All of that time—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you did a lot of work for the public in governmental positions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, and in, or in non-profit agencies, yeah. Most of my work has been—and then I got tired and thought.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
[Laughter] You just got tired after that, I would have been tired after the first thing.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I just thought that I had done a lot for—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The community—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And had not done anything for me, and didn't really know, and so I decided to try the profit sector for a while. And I did that and I worked in a department store and then I went to the stock brokerage firm and then I opened a restaurant.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, what kind of restaurant?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
A small, gourmet restaurant in North Hampton Mass.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay. A gourmet restaurant, what would something that we would know today that it would be analogous to maybe? Was it like Crook's Corner, was it like Henry's Bistro, was it like, Frazier's is, if you know what Frazier's is in Raleigh.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I don't know what Frazier's is in Raleigh.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is the main gay restaurant in Raleigh, where a lot of gay clientele go.

Page 67
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It was more like— [pause] It would—I am trying to think of what in Chapel Hill would be comparable to, there is nothing really that I can think of. My restaurant was about forty seats, it was what we called "casually elegant" and the food was at the time, it was Nouvelle Cuisine and we introduced Cajun and Creole food to the area. But it was layered table cloth, hand blown crystal, open candles, so it had—but not pretentious. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, I can see that.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And it was not pretentious at the time. It was not pretentious because we did things that, for instance, the wait staff did not wear uniforms, as people knew them. The uniform for my wait staff was brown pants or skirts down, brown shoes, but then they could wear anything in a shirt or blouse that matched the décor. What I didn't want was I didn't want them to be, to stand out as they moved about the room so that you would automatically notice them. It wasn't this stiff kind of thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, I see what you are saying. It would normally be white shirts and black—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, it would be white shirts and black slacks, and I didn't want to do that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
For totally understandable reasons.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I didn't want that. So, and then I decided to come back home.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Come back to North Carolina. When was this, what year? What decade?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
1990.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
1990, wow, so how long was the restaurant opened?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Three years.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, so it was '87 to '90?

Page 68
QUINTON E. BAKER:
'82 to '85 I think it was. Yeah, '82 to '85—and then after I left my own restaurant, because I was ahead of my time, I was in an area where people were used to food hanging off the plate, they were used to large quantities, I was doing—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Quality not quantity.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, you could get quite full at my restaurant; you just had to order all of the courses to do so, but yeah. I managed other people's restaurants for a while. I managed other people's restaurants, I was fascinated by the restaurant industry, I did that as a part of working my way through Wisconsin, I did that until my mother died, and then I decided that I needed to get out of the restaurant industry, I was burned out, because it is twenty-four seven. And at the time, I said, I think I was reading what's his name—Oh my god, I can't even remember his name anymore—I was reading a book that was talking about what had happened in terms of segregation and integration, It was talking about how we were re-segregating ourselves, we were talking about particularly around UMass where people of color and white people were not even—wouldn't be in the same vicinities of each other—and I decided that I would—that I had not been in the South to live since it desegregated, I had no clue as to what life in the South was like. I had long believed that the South had a greater shot of achieving full integration than did the North because at least there were relationships or contact, but I wanted to see. So, I decided, it was a decision to either come back here or to go to Wisconsin, to go back to Wisconsin, which was where I had a really—for some reason, I never really, as much as I loved it, I never found a niche in a Northeast, Boston was just not, I couldn't, I didn't find a niche with the African American community in the Northeast because, for my perception, I

Page 69
was not willing to pretend that I was not educated, that I wasn't a member and I didn't fit in there. The gay community in Boston is very segregated—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had sold out in the black community because you had become educated and so forth?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, it was because all of the educated people pretended like they weren't educated, you know, like they were one of the people growing up in the—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Slums or whatever and had never gotten an education—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right and it wasn't true, and also Boston is this kind of closed community anyway and so most of interactions that I had in Boston was in the gay community, but it was the white gay community and that wasn't, I didn't quite find a niche there, although I lived in a house, the people's whose house I lived in, had been together for—when I moved in 15 years or more and they were, and they were really good to me. It was a good relationship, I had the run of the house, this was a six story brownstone, I had two floors at the bottom and I pretty much had the run of the house in terms of the way—But still, I felt that I wasn't doing, that I wasn't thriving, I wasn't growing, I wasn't—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Reaching your full potential—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right and so I decided that I needed to, you know, and I knew that geographical cures don't work, so I wasn't really, but I needed to go back, I needed to get back into an environment—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Geographical what?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Cures.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, cures.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Cures, don't work, at least I believed at that time—

Page 70
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Nothing magical was going to happen if you moved back to the South.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Nothing magical was going to happen. But I decided that I was going to come back anyway, I wanted to come south, and so I decided to come here. At the same time, at the beginning of that time, I had met Ron.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
In 1990 you came to Hillsborough.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
1990 I came to Hillsborough, I have been in this house since 1990.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, for twelve years.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, you came down, bought this house, you met Ron here?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Rented this house.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, you rented this house?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Rented this house, then we bought this house. [Laughter] I met Ron in Massachusetts. Ron was working at a health club that I attended on my day off and I met Ron there and before we came down here, we decided to go cross country together, so we spent much of the time, I was just trying, I was not—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you out to find yourself?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I was just trying to figure out, I had actually suggested to him that he go across country, because he had not ventured out. The I said, "Well, why am I telling you to go across country? I should go across country, I have never been across country." And so, that is how we met.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay, so what do you do in Hillsborough, what do you do in North Carolina?

Page 71
QUINTON E. BAKER:
What do I do in North Carolina? Oh, god. Right at the moment I am an independent consultant, I work with community based organizations, academic institutions and health agencies, primarily helping to address issues of health and well being particularly helping people understand how to work in communities, how you build relationships and how you partner in communities.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You counsel people on how to network and how to network and build coalitions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Particularly academic and health agencies that are interested in worked in particular communities of color. I try to help them understand how to work with the communities of colors the academic institutions and those. But, my work has ventured out. I came here, I went back into the community action agency, I, my—she is no longer alive, the person who, when I first came here I worked in the community church as a part of the administrative staff and then this person called me and she said that she had a job that she thought I might be interested in, she called me in to talk to me about it, and she said, "I am looking for somebody who is not intimidated by people with PhDs and I think you would fit this." [Laughter] And so she brought me into a program called the Community Based Public Health Initiative. It was a Kellogg-funded initiative and that lasted for five years. In the course of that time, I built quite a reputation, and credibility for myself as a person understanding the work in communities and how. And so, Kellogg and others have used me as a consultant, sending me to various places across the country. I have had the privilege of being a part of a faculty for the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, wonderful.

Page 72
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, and so I have been really involved in trying to strengthen particular communities of colors for more self reliance. If we look at the civil rights movement and we look at other periods after and we look at all of the programs that were supposed to radically change the quality of life for people who are poor, we created some middle class people who work in the area, and we left a lot of promises, but we really haven't radically shifted the power relationship for poor communities in the dominant society. And so, a lot of my work is about shifting that relationship.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This is going to be one little thing that I wanted you to comment on, because it is something that I wanted to discuss, and then we can get back on the chronological track. You knew Martin Luther King. You met Martin Luther King or at least spoke with him.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he ever verbalize or, I guess you could assume acknowledge the role of gay people within the black civil rights movement? Because really, I guess when you ran into him, it may have just been strategy sessions and general meetings and that kind of thing.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, you know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Obviously, one of his people organized the March on Washington.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I know more of his, of the people around him, more so than Dr. King and no, I didn't get a sense. No, I think that the sense that I got was that Dr. King was not very comfortable with the gay people in the movement, and I know he wasn't very comfortable with Bayard Rustin, and so that is to some degree Bayard—that's why Bayard had such a back seat.

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CHRIS McGINNIS:
A peripheral role.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, he had a crucial role, but it was behind the scenes in the process, so that was all that I can say about that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you see—did you know this from the actions, or did you see his thought process or his reaction to certain issues or gay people or—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I really didn't see that, I mean, I don't think that it was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You just knew that he was a little uncomfortable.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I know that he wasn't that comfortable with Bayard more than anything else, and I knew that because John was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was that a personal thing, or was it a gay thing—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It probably was, I don't know, I really don't know, I can't say. I mean, much of what I knew about that had to do with the fact that John worked with Bayard—John Dunne—worked with Bayard Rustin for a summer.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
For a summer, was this after—?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
You know, because those kind of issues were—I mean, because to some degree it was like the relationship between me and John, where in the relationship was there—the focus was on the movement, and whenever we interacted with people if they were not gay, it was mostly about the movement, so what people's personal reactions or responses were, I have no clue.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, when John worked, I guess when you worked through John that when John worked for Bayard, he saw things that would indicate this discomfort.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, Dr. King was not very comfortable with—I mean Bayard was not closeted by any means. [Laughter]

Page 74
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How not, was he just flamboyant, or was he—?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, Bayard was a bit flamboyant.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And he went out to the clubs and had fun and whatever.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And whatever.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And whatever, yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And so he wasn't hiding it, he wasn't conforming by any stretch of the imagination.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, he wasn't hiding it. Bayard was not, it was not a secret. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is he still alive?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he die of HIV?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I don't remember, I don't know, I don't know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I don't officially know either. Okay, so that flamboyancy was a little bit out there, and—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, it was like to some degree, I think—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And Martin Luther King was definitely a traditional southern male in that way.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He didn't like this in your face kind of homosexuality kind of thing.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, James Baldwin. I knew James Baldwin and I think that there was a bit of tension between Dr. King and James Baldwin because of James Baldwin's

Page 75
sexuality. And certainly, he was not hiding anything from anybody in the process. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
James Baldwin sounds very familiar.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
James Baldwin is the author, probably the intellectual giant of the 60s. Another Country, Nobody Knows My Name. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, I have read some of his books.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Giovanni's Room.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, great, wonderful, I really do appreciate it, that is another big question that I had. So, what happened to other people?
Were you aware of what John Dunne did later in his life?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I was surprised that he later married a woman.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah. [Laughter] Why would you be surprised?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I don't know enough about him.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's probably why—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was he a bisexual, was it something that was—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I told you when we started this that John Dunne was opportunistic. John slept with both men and women, his dominant sexual activity was with men, but he would marry because that was what he needed and he had, he has two, I understand, very fine young gentlemen now, his sons. But he married a woman and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And she was oblivious, or?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh, it is painful, Chris, painful to think of what happened there because it was not until after he was diagnosed with cancer and he was dying that he told her all that

Page 76
he did. I mean, he would tell her things like, "I was in love with him, and I was constantly bothering him." Or something, he wouldn't tell the truth about the nature of our relationship. And he was going to, he would make trips to Boston, he would come from New Hampshire and places and he had a male lover that the would visit and see, but she knew nothing about any of this.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
—and so she didn't not know anything about this until the final days.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Until his final days. She might have thought that he did have relationships before they were married, she was not aware of the infidelity during the course—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That's right. And he and I stopped talking to each other—it is probably petty, he came to visit me once in Wisconsin and he was gung ho to jump in bed with one of my friends or roommates and I had not seen him for years, I mean, we did not have a relationship at that time, but I was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The point was, he had come to see you. And he was trying to sleep with your roommate.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I thought that it still was kind of offensive. And then he invited me to his wedding. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you feel like he had sold out to be marrying and mainstreaming like this? Or did that bother you?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[Quinton sighs uncomfortably] I didn't think he had sold out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because you knew that he didn't really prefer women.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I just knew it was—

Page 77
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was just a continuation of the general personality of John Dunne.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
If it was to his advantage, he would sleep with his mother. [Laughter] Okay? But I as annoyed by the fact that I was invited to his wedding, but I wasn't invited to participate in any way in his wedding, and people that he knew less than two or three years, were asked to be the best man, to be the ushers, what have you. And so, I said to myself, "Why am I going to spend all of this money to go to Boston from Wisconsin to sit through his wedding? Nah, not doing it."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, does it bother you that this was a heterosexual wedding?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you consider John bisexual?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I considered John a hypocrite, a phony.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because he was basically a gay man.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He was still basically a gay man, he was still sleeping with—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He just wanted the privilege of having a wife.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, but he was never able to be—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The privileges which came with having a wife.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, right, he was never faithful to anyone. So, it didn't, these were just patterns of John.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was John a Brian Kinney?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[pause] No, because John had the capacity of making you think that he loved you. I mean, part of his charm was that he would make you very special in his world. It would not be obvious that you were being used in a way as with Brian. John was much more than that, but John would also make you think that it was the right thing

Page 78
to do. I can remember one of the kids that he had, that he was sharing an apartment with in Boston while he was doing some other things, came home and found John with someone else, in their bed.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
One of his children came home, and it was a male, I take it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Not one of his children, no, this is the guy that John was staying with in Boston, came to the apartment.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, one of the kids that he was dating.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, one of the young guys, one of the kids that he was dating, came home. John had picked somebody up and was in the apartment with that person and John's response was to invite the kid to join them.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To come join them.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
With no, no clue—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He didn't miss a beat.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He didn't miss a beat, and I thought, "God, he is terrific." So, that was John.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, he was pretty Machiavellian.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, yes. But, he could be a very sweet, charming, man, but he was very Machiavellian. I don't think that we would have ever. It is interesting, John and I didn't have a relationship, we started off and then John met someone at Central that he liked and found more charming, and he was trying to balance the two of us, and at the time I was traveling for the national NAACP and I was going away and I said to him, "When, I go away, I am not coming back, I don't want to see you. I don't want to have—" And that was when I got the commitment from John.

Page 79
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see, because then it would be a competitive thing, and you were running away, so the chase was back on.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yep, I was saying, "See ya."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And he knew that that was a line in the sand drawn.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you think that would happen, that statement? I don't want to see you again?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Nope, I just knew.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You just knew that was the best thing for you.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I knew that I didn't want to play the game that he was playing. I knew that I didn't want to try to figure out a weekend that we would get together. I got tired of hearing, "Well, I don't know if we can get together, Clinton may be coming—" It is interesting, because the person's name was Clinton. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is too strange.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, I know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Clinton/Quinton sound so similar.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, that is too strange, yes. So, I just got tired of hearing, "Well I don't know, maybe." And then being there, when Clinton didn't show up, or being there when he thought he was going to get together with Clinton and he didn't show up and therefore, I became the sort of fallback person, and I just said, "I have had enough of this."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he prefer black men? Did John Dunne prefer black men, or—?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[pause] I don't think it started off that way.

Page 80
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But it may have evolved that way—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
But it may have evolved that way. Pat definitely preferred black men.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Pat was not even a practicing homosexual until after the black civil rights movement, correct? He just happened to realize that he was gay, and just happened to be—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, he was non-practicing, he was actually, I just remember now—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And there is a quote of that in the book.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
—And I just remember now who it is that I was talking about who was on the Daily Tar Heel at the time that we knew, that was much more conservative, because we used to tease Pat because Pat was fantasizing about him and that was Peter Harkness and his father was a, was he a reporter, a Washington reporter?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was Peter Harkness gay or was he just attractive?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He was just blond, attractive, it is so funny, because once Pat came out, then the blond, attractive Peter Harknesses was no longer attractive for him, he was totally in the other camp.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Two last questions.
Jim Sears, let's talk about his work and what he has done. When were you approached and was it, when were you approached and what was written? And let's talk about your thoughts on this.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, I was approached, James Sears approached me, I don't remember the date prior to the book, but he approached me because Pat had suggested that he—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was this after you had moved to North Carolina?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah, I was here. This was here [Hillsborough].

Page 81
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Early mid-'90s?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I guess mid'-90s, I don't. I think it was mid-'90s, when did he do this book?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
May have even been in the '80s.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
In '97, so he must have approached me in '96—'95, '96. He came here and he had a—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it similar to the interview that we are doing now?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, he was at the Holiday Inn in Chapel Hill. He had a room. I agreed to meet him there and we did the interview and we did the conversation. I would not have talked to Jim Sears, I had no interest of doing the interview, whatsoever, and the only reason that I talked to him was because Pat suggested that I should do him, talk to him. Pat thought that it was important, he thought that it was an important issue that we get out there. Pat has been very out and political as a gay person in Boston for the last, I don't know, the past, I don't know, eleven years, twelve years or so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay, so he is someone who actually transferred those skills to the gay rights movement.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, but he is still very much involved in community action and is still very much involved in civil rights and the issues of poverty, it is just that he is just very much out and makes it a part of his work, in that process. I simply, and so I responded to Pat. James, Jim Sears came, he did the interview, we talked, I thought that it was a fairly decent interview, I tried to tell him, pretty much, similar to what we had done here, a little bit more history about growing up and that kind of thing and then I read the, the galleys, and I sent him a note back saying that this is not an accurate description of my life and what I told you—

Page 82
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was inaccurate about it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
In order to give it more, I don't know, interest or color, there were things that he said about my father, about my family working that wasn't true that I didn't say, how he described them, I don't remember. Oh, let's see [Quinton pages through his book].
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you make any notes in that while you were reading it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I didn't, because I never read the book. Once I read the other thing, I just said, "Forget it."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
This was not a passion of mine; this was not something that I wanted to have happen. I was doing him a favor. I also felt that he lied because when he came back to do some work on— [pause] See, this is the thing, he says, "My father had been convicted of assault and battery." That is not true.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my goodness.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
My father had gone to prison, he had been convicted, but it was not assault and battery.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is a pretty big thing. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What had your father gone for?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I had forgotten what it was now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But it wasn't assault and battery?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It wasn't assault and battery, no. And, I don't know.

Page 83
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there other inconsistencies? You said that he was trying to make some connection between the black civil rights movement and the gay—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you feel that you were being led in the interview, and in what way?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I never made the connections; I never made the connections that he made in the book, once he wrote the book. It wasn't me that was saying that there was the connections that were there. It was him interpreting them. I am trying to find some of this stuff. [pause] No, see, "Growing up gay in the South for Quinton's generation meant being…Quinton's first knowledge of any type of sexual activity between the races came through Avery, who was making money hand over fist." I don't even know what he is talking about. Unless he is talking about Lester and changed the name, who was in fact, making money with—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was he being a prostitute?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, in those days, you know, there was this thing of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had these sugar daddies.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Whites would come through the neighborhood and pick up black women or black men, whatever their proclivities, and take them off for sexual gratification and pay them some kind of thing. It wasn't the kind of formalized prostitution that you are thinking of, but it was really hustling, but it was not generalized hustling, because it was really directed toward white people in that process. And Lester used to do some of that. But the thing is that. I mean, I do talk about them riding through the community, but I don't know. He changed the names of some people, because he didn't have the permission to use their name. I don't remember, my feelings were, and maybe I felt a

Page 84
little bit about Jim Sears as I felt about, as I thought about John. My feelings about Jim was that it was an opportunistic interview that was not so much about protecting the truth about what it is I had to say, or the what the truth was, it was about getting a particular point of view that he had, and I just wasn't very comfortable with it. Also, he promised to talk to me again about—
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am sorry.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That is all right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, we are on the forth side of the interview with Quinton Baker, the number for this tape is, 02.23.02-QB.4
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I—the experience of having the interview, I guess I felt almost as if there was almost some kind of connection or some kind of a—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This is Jim Sears?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Jim Sears—that there was some kind of—you know he talked about his relationship, his partner, his work, and then you almost felt that there was some kind of trust factor that was being built. Once the book came out and then he started—I felt betrayed by that trust factor.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So he built—was it a period of meetings that he built this trust factor up?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, yes, and I felt that—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There was a rapport built to hopefully have a more open—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, and I felt that he exploited that. I have not heard from him since. I had no clue that I had been mentioned in the new book.6
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I remember when we spoke about that, and I was thinking, "Should I have mentioned this?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I had no clue, and then when he spoke in Raleigh, the business group, in which he did this description of me and Pat being lovers, it was all for his, for him to sell his book, because it was not true about the way of our relationship.

Page 86
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He wasn't being a real historian; he was just making up things to—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Right, and Pat and I had been friends all of these years.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had just been sexual.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
We had never had a sexual relationship, it never even crossed our minds, okay, we were just friends, and what ever he said was sort of like, "The son of a black sharecropper and the grandson of a founder of the Ku Klux Klan are lovers." I mean that's—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you invited to come to the Business Guild?7
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Didn't know that it was coming to town.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And that they were going to be talking about you.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Didn't have a clue. If I hadn't had a friend who's an attorney who was present and called me up to tell me what had happened, I would have had no idea.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Had you spoken to Jim [Sears] about this later on?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you ask him not to have that initially shared?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I mean, not to even have the—you didn't even want it published necessarily in Lonely Hunters, "The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?"
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He had the right to use the tape for the book but he did not have any right to use the tape publicly in any way whatsoever.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And certainly not for the second book.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
And not for the second book, no.

Page 87
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, when I spoke to you on the phone for the first time, and I was surprised that I had gotten you [Laughter] so it was something.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I was surprised that you had got me too. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were like, "Damn, I got caught."
You said something to the effect of, "I want to be known for something, I don't want my legacy to necessarily be just the civil rights movement and my activism that I was involved in the 1960s, If I am remembered, I want to be remembered for a broader picture." I think that is the idea that you expressed to me. Correct me if I am wrong. Why don't you tell me a little bit about this and for the people who will be listening to this, what you want to be remembered for beyond just the civil rights movement. Maybe that is just a facet, but other things.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, a significant amount of my energy and my life has been spent on issues of justice of issues of fairness and equity; I have been involved in a lot of efforts with communities and strengthening those relationships. I would like for my legacy to be the totality, excuse me, of my life. I have also spent a lot of time with people about relationships and how we are friends and how we are not friends, or how we accept people. It is all connected to what perhaps, prompted me to be involved in the civil rights movement, but I think I have made significant contributions to life and the well-being of mankind since 1960, my life did not stop with 1960 and so if you are going to talk about me, talk about what I am doing currently, if you want to relate that to my work in the '60s, that is okay, but just don't talk about what I did in the '60s, or what radical I was in the '60s. I am not the same person I was in the 1960s, I mean—.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You are still a radical now.

Page 88
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I am radical in different ways. I won't march. I will not march.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Would you go to a pride parade?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I don't go, I don't march for anything. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You have done your dues.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I have paid my dues in terms of marching. I have been to a pride parade. The only pride parade that I have ever been in was in Boston, and that was really at a very controversial time, because it was a time that I was in a stock brokerage firm. I mean I have made my statements, but I have to do it the way that I do it. I cannot do it the way that people think it ought to be done. When I came back here, many people in the Chapel Hill community wanted me to be the same person that I was when I left in the '60s. Or that they knew and how they related to me. I am a different person. My analysis of conditions and problems that we face are different now. And my actions are predicated on that analysis, not some analysis before. I would like people to stop marching every Martin Luther King Day. I mean, you would think that the only legacy that he left was marching. [Laughter] In terms of that, we have to find a different way. So, that's all my statement means. I am doing different things, they are all connected to what I believe is right and just in this society—look at the total picture.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Thank you very much. [Laughter]
END OF INTERVIEW
1. The rally that Quinton is referring to was held the day after the election of a new mayor in Durham, Mayor Grabarek. The exact date of this meeting was Tuesday, May 21, 1963 at St. Joseph's Church in Durham, North Carolina.
2. Chris is referring to the federal law the "Defense of Marriage Act" passed in the mid-1990s which defines a marriage as a union between a man and a woman, patently excluding gays and lesbians from marriage.
3. The Sears papers are a collection housed in the rare books and manuscripts department of Duke University. In this collection are Dr. Sears's research notes, which include copies of the column written by Armistead Maupin. The column was entitled, "View from the Hill," and was very conservative on economic and race issues. This column was written from 1963 to 1964.
4. Brian Kinney is a fictional character in a Showtime Movie miniseries entitled "Queer as Folk." This mini-series/sitcom focuses on the lives of several gay men and lesbians in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Free Men
Rebels, Rubyfruit and Rhinestones
7. The business guild being discussed is the Triangle Business and Professional Guild (TBPG) a business organization made up of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people and their allies.