THE SALON SERIES
James Kirchick, Paula Giddings &
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Starting at 11 AM
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
110 W Catharine St.
James Kirchick, author of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington
Mr. Kirchick will be in conversation with Milford Mayor Sean Strub
Paula Giddings, author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching
Ms. Giddings will be in conversation with Christa Caceres, Monroe County NAACP Chapter President
Steven Thrasher, author of The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Equality and Disease Collide
Dr. Thrasher will be in conversation with global public health expert Edson Whitney. Panel moderated by Milford Mayor Sean Strub.
Washington, D.C., has always been a city of secrets. Few have been more dramatic than the ones revealed in James Kirchick’s Secret City. For decades, the specter of homosexuality haunted Washington. The mere suggestion that a person might be gay destroyed reputations, ended careers, and ruined lives.
At the height of the Cold War, fear of homosexuality became intertwined with the growing threat of international communism, leading to a purge of gay men and lesbians from the federal government. In the fevered atmosphere of political Washington, the secret “too loathsome to mention” held enormous, terrifying power.
Utilizing thousands of pages of declassified documents, interviews with over one hundred people, and material unearthed from presidential libraries and archives around the country, Secret City is a chronicle of American politics like no other. Beginning with the tragic story of Sumner Welles, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s brilliant diplomatic advisor and the man at the center of “the greatest national scandal since the existence of the United States,” James Kirchick illuminates how homosexuality shaped each successive presidential administration through the end of the twentieth century.
Cultural and political anxiety over gay people sparked a decades-long witch hunt, impacting everything from the rivalry between the CIA and the FBI to the ascent of Joseph McCarthy, the struggle for Black civil rights, and the rise of the conservative movement. Among other revelations, Kirchick tells of the World War II–era gay spymaster who pioneered seduction as a tool of American espionage, the devoted aide whom Lyndon Johnson treated as a son yet abandoned once his homosexuality was discovered, and how allegations of a “homosexual ring” controlling Ronald Reagan nearly derailed his 1980 election victory.
Magisterial in scope and intimate in detail, Secret City will forever transform our understanding of American history.
James Kirchick is an author, journalist, and foreign affairs writer whose latest book “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington” is a NYTimes best-seller. He is a columnist for Tablet Magazine and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times among many other publications. His first book “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age” was published by Yale University Press in 2017.
To buy books on Amazon click on the link.
author page on Amazon
Sean Strub is a long-time LGBT and political activist who first went to Washington, DC, as a young closeted man in 1976, to operate a ‘Senators Only’ elevator in the U.S. Capitol. He was the first openly HIV+ person to run for federal office and today serves as Mayor of Milford, Pennsylvania.
Ida, A Sword Among Lions and the Campaign Against Lynching received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. Ida also received the Letitia Woods Brown Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians; the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights; and was deemed one of the best books of 2008 by the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. Ida also earned the first inaugural John Hope Franklin Research Center Book Award presented by the Duke University Libraries.
In addition to Ida, A Sword Among Lions, Paula J. Giddings, the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Africana Studies (Emerita) at Smith College, is the author of: When and Where I Enter: The Impact on Black Women on Race and Sex in America; In Search of Sisterhood, Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement; Burning All Illusions, (editor) and an anthology of articles on race published by the Nation magazine from 1867 to 2000.
While at Smith, Giddings was the editor of Meridians, feminism, race, transnationalism. a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Previously she had been a book editor at Howard University Press; a magazine editor at Encore American and Worldwide News, where she was the Paris Bureau Chief; and a journalist who has written extensively on international and national issues for the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeune Afrique (Paris), and The Nation among other publications.
Giddings has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (unfulfilled). She has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Wesleyan University, Bennett College, and Howard University, and was named a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. She is on the board of Nation Institute and the Authors League Fund and is a member of PEN. Ms. Giddings was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.
Paula J. Giddings, the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Africana Studies (Emerita) at Smith College, is the author of four books: When and Where I Enter: The Impact on Black Women on Race and Sex in America; In Search of Sisterhood, Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement; Burning All Illusions, (editor) an anthology of articles on race published by the Nation magazine from 1867 to 2000; and Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.
Ida, A Sword Among Lions received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. Ida also received the Letitia Woods Brown Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians; the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavas Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights; and was deemed one of the best books of 2008 by the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. Ida also earned the first inaugural John Hope Franklin Research Center Book Award presented by the Duke University Libraries.
To buy books on Amazon click on Paula Gidding’s author page.
Christa Caceres is proud to serve as President for the Monroe County Chapter of the NAACP. She holds a B.A. in Jurisprudence and M.S. in Law and Public Policy from the California University of Pennsylvania. Christa’s leadership and advocacy activities include service on the board of directors for The Greater Pike Community Foundation, Pocono Mountains United Way, Emerge Pennsylvania and the newly formed Seven Oaks Collective. She also serves as co-chair of PMUW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cohort, maintains life membership in the NAACP, is a longtime member of Rotary Club of the Stroudsburgs and an active member of the Greater Pocono Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. In 2021, Christa was the recipient of the prestigious MLK Community Member Award from East Stroudsburg University.
Following calls for reform in law enforcement, Christa has taken a proactive approach and formed the Monroe County Community Roundtable which unites the leaders of local and state law enforcement with Monroe County NAACP to find strategic and creative ways to make lasting changes in our community together. Mrs. Caceres and her family have been residents of the Pocono Mountains since 2005.
Steven Thrasher, the author of THE VIRAL UNDERCLASS: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide is a prominent journalist, social critic and LGBTQ scholar, who holds the inaugural Daniel H. Renberg Chair at Northwestern University’s Medill School. He frequently offers expertise on the relationship between viruses and inequality, with appearances in The New York Times, The Atlantic, PBS Newshour, Esquire, Buzzfeed News, Scientific American, and The Guardian.
Dr. Thrasher spent his career studying the racialization, policing, and criminalization of HIV, and he has come to understand a deeper truth at the heart of our society: As we have witnessed most recently with COVID, there are vast inequalities in who is able to survive viruses—and the ways viruses spread, kill, and take their toll are much more dependent on social structures than they are on biology alone.
“An irresistibly readable and humane exploration of the barbarities of class…readers are gifted that most precious of things in these muddled times: a clear lens through which to see the world.”
—Naomi Klein, New York Times bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
Told through poignant, heart-rending stories—and in the tradition of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow—The Viral Underclass helps us understand the world more deeply by showing the fraught relationship between privilege and survival. It also offers concrete ideas on how we can use viruses as a guide to create better politics of care.
To buy book on Amazon click here.
Edson Whitney’s career in behavior change communication for public health has spanned the globe for over 35 years with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health as Associate Director and Senior Technical Advisor. From Africa to Asia, his design, development and management of national communication strategies and programs has covered maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS prevention, adolescent reproductive health and, more recently, Ebola recovery strategies, national strategies for Africa on zoonotic disease prevention and the development of COVID-19 SMS and WhatsApp messages for a UNICEF digital training curriculum for front line health workers.
Edson also serves as board chair of Pike Artworks, Inc. the not for profit organization which sponsors the Milford Readers and Writers Festival, which he co-chairs. A Port Jervis native, he and his wife, Barbara, now make their home in the Milford area.