Be in the know about Northampton queer history!
A fascinating walking tour that reveals the untold history of the Northampton, Massachusetts LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community will take place on Sunday, September 14th at 2:00 PM and you are invited! Offered by the Sexual Minorities Archives as a benefit for the non-profit Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation (SMEF), Inc., the 3-hour walking tour, Journey Through Lesbian Mecca, will include over 50 stops concentrated in a 3-mile area in and around downtown Northampton. Many of the locations on the tour were sites of organizations and businesses in the 1970s through the early 2000s that helped shape the LGBTQ community’s emergence in the area and the city to establish its national reputation as a welcoming place for LGBTQs. The tour will also cover sites as old in history as 1898, and spaces owned or operated by LGBTQ people today.
Research to develop the tour was conducted at the Sexual Minorities Archives, a national collection of LGBTQ literature, history, and art located in Northampton; and the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College by Elizabeth Kent, M.A. Brandeis University, Smith College alumna, and member of the SMEF, Inc. Board of Directors. Kent and Marwa Atef Amer, Archival Assistant at the SMA and doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will guide the tour.
In 1995, author Michael Lowenthal wrote, “Northampton is something of a lesbian Mecca, to which all dykes must make at least one pilgrimage during their lives.’” Today there are scarce few lesbians, gay men, trans people, bisexuals, and queers living in the U.S. who have never passed through Northampton or lived here at some point in time.
Even sites of lesbian graffiti once located in the city will be covered. The tour will swing through locations both in the city and on the Smith College campus.
Registration is limited to 30 people. The requested donation is $20 general and $10 for seniors ages 60+, students, and low-income individuals. We will meet by the Armory Street parking lot behind Thornes Marketplace, to the right of the entrance to the parking garage. Parking in the lot and on the streets is free on Sunday! Please arrive by 1:45 PM to check in. The tour will step off promptly at 2:00 PM.
Tour-goers may pay in advance or on the day of the tour. To pay in advance, endorse a check for your donation to: SMEF, Inc. and mail it to: SMEF, Inc., P.O. Box 1023, Northampton, MA 01061-1023. SMEF, Inc. is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization; donations are tax-deductible.