Name: Mabel Hampton
Distinction: A major archivist of black and gay life in the 20th century
Brief History: Hampton moved to New York in the 1920s to become a dancer and singer, and found a home in the Harlem Renaissance scene. In 1932 she met her partner, Foster, and the two remained a couple until Foster’s death in 1978. She contributed a great deal of her time and energy to The Lesbian Herstory Archives.
Importance: We all know how taboo being gay was in the past. Hell, even in the midst of marriage equality there is still a sense of “other” about it. So for this woman to boldly be who she was in the 30s…man I think you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher lady. And she recorded the history of others like her. Others who probably would have been lost to history otherwise. People have a tendency to try and wash away the things they think shameful and we should all be thankful this woman said it wasn’t happening on her watch.