In the Life

ed. by Joseph Beam

In the Life, an expression which means being gay, is also the title of this collection of writings in which more than 25 black authors explore what it means to be doubly different—both blackand gay—in modern America. These stories, verses, works of art, and theater pieces voice the concerns and aspirations of an often silent minority. They can be poignant, erotic, resolute or angry, but always reflect the affirming power of coming together to build a strong black gay community. Editor Joseph Beam began collecting this material in 1984 after years of frustration with gay literature that had no message for—and little mention of—black gay men. “The bottom line,” he wrote, “is this: We are Black men who are proudly gay. What we offer is our lives, our love, our visions… We are coming home with our heads held up high.”



Joseph Beam


Joseph Beam (1954-1988) was a cultural and political activist, writer, editor and beloved son. Beam edited In the Life, the groundbreaking anthology of black gay writing, originally published in 1986. He was a board member of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays; was founding editor of Black/Out magazine; served on the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee; and, prior to his death, had begun working on the book Brother to Brother. Joseph Beam was a man who cared deeply about "black men loving black men."


223 pp.

© 2008 by Estate of Joseph Beam
Cover design: E.M. Corbin
Cover photo: Sharon Farmer

ISBN-10: 0-9786251-2-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-9786251-2-2


Read an excerpt below.


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