RAZZ Pride Icons: Mabel Hampton

Mabel Hampton was born in 1902 in North Carolina, later moving to Harlem. She met Lillian Foster in 1932 and the two were together for 45 years. Foster said in 1976: “Forty-four years ago I met Mabel. We was a wonderful pair. I’ll never forget it. But she’s a little tough. I met her in 1932, September twenty-second. And we haven’t been separated since in our whole life. Death will separate us. Other than that I don’t want it to end.” Foster died two years later in 1978.

Mabel Hampton was know as the ultimate hoarder and living time machine, meticulously collecting lesbian-related materials such as newsletters, posters, photographs, pulp fiction, books, and envelopes. This collection came into use when Hampton became friends with Joan Nestle – founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in 1974. Hampton joined as a founding member and donated her hoardings, helping to create a detailed and varied museum of queer women history before Stonewall.

Hampton represented how important the community of readers for a publication is and the significance of treasuring a history that others tend to erase. She participated in every gay pride march that occurred during her life, including the first in 1979 for gay rights in Washington, D.C.,  and even as the grand marshal of the NYC Gay Pride March in 1985. That same year, Hampton was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays.


Read More: Mabel Hampton – http://herstories.prattinfoschool.nyc/omeka/collections/show/29

Idol Worship: Mabel Hampton Is Gay History – https://www.autostraddle.com/idol-worship-mabel-hampton-saved-gay-history-167278/ (Quote Source)

Charlotte ‘Fozz’ Forrester

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