Before the Stonewall Riots there indeed was gay history and lesbians of color. Lesbians and gays have been here as long as human life has been on the earth. Grant you many were hidden and buried deeply for fear of reprisal, but nonetheless it was the beginning of Gay History with a past.
Before Stonewall or the Stonewall Riots was Ruth Ellis...
RUTH ELLIS (07-23-1899 to 10-05-2000).
"She was thought to be the oldest out African American lesbian in History."
And, who would have ever thought it? That a colored girl (back then), born and bred from a father, who was self-educated and once a slave, whose mother died, when she was only an adolescence child, would turn out to be the woman in history, that she would become. Ruth Ellis...legendary.
They called her a trailblazer, but she merely lived her life loving immeasurably and freely.
In 1915, as a teenager she knew, that she was the L Word, lesbian.
Ruth, not only achieved her primary education, which was quite an accomplishment in those days, but she taught herself photography and hand colored painting.
In 1937, she was the first woman in America to own a printing business, Ellis and Franklin Printing Company, Detroit, Michigan
After this she and her partner, Babe bought their home. They were together for 30 years. "The Gay Spot," is what it was called. It's where the African American gay and lesbian folks would hang out. Integration hadn't taken place, neither had The Civil Rights Movement or Stonewall. (History of Ruth Ellis).
She and her partner Babe started the 'Gay Spot'. This was a (secret) meeting place for LGBT folks, that began inside of their home. It was their safe haven which grew and grew. Ruth continued her plight to help the gay and lesbian community beyond Stonewall.
Ruth Ellis, remained consonant in supporting gay rights by raising money for local aids organizations & advocating for gay and lesbian seniors. During the 1990's, she consorted with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, "Creating Change" Conference. She was active in The Ellis Affair, Washington DC, 1999 Black Lesbian & Gay Pride Day and was asked to lead the San Francisco's Dyke March in the Bay Area, where thousands of women sang Happy Birthday to her. Miss Ellis, was even popular at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.
The Ruth Ellis Center, was established. GLBT of all races & ages are welcomed. They house, feed, clothe and counsel. You're assisted with transitional living and many different programs. At this time, over 12,000 meals have been prepared. (The Ruth Ellis Center.)
Ruth Ellis I Salute You!
The video featured is lesbians of color speaking on how they set the way for many of us, before Stonewall...