Contents 1 Biography 1.1 Early life 1.2 Labor and civil rights activities 1.3 Gay rights activities 1.4 Twilight Years 2 References 3 External links

Biography[edit] Early life[edit] Kight was born and grew up in Comanche County, Texas. He graduated from Texas Christian University and graduated in 1941[1] with a degree in personnel administration and public administration. From 1941 until 1958, Kight lived in northern New Mexico, where he and many other gay people were active in Adlai Stevenson's campaign in the 1952 presidential election. The presence of many gay people in Stevenson's campaign led to the spreading of a rumor that Stevenson was gay.[2] While in New Mexico, Kight married and had two daughters, Carol Kight-Fyfe and Angela Chandler. He only shared that information with his closest friends, apparently believing that would diminish his credibility as a spokesman for gay rights.[3] Kight also acted while he was in Albuquerque. From 1950 to 1955, he was involved in the "Summerhouse Theater" and the "Old Town Players" in Albuquerque. The two companies brought in many actors from California, and Kight was able to read some of the new "Homophile" organizations' pamphlets and circulations that these actors brought with them. This was his first exposure to groups like the Mattachine Society, which he considered elitist.[2] Labor and civil rights activities[edit] Kight was active in many political, civil rights, and labor rights groups. As early as the 1940s, he was involved in organizing the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union.[4] After moving to Los Angeles, he kept up his involvement in varied rights groups. This work led to the first protest groups he himself founded: the "Dow Action Committee" in 1967. The Committee protested the chemical company, including its production of Agent Orange and its use, during the Vietnam War. Kight's strong beliefs sometimes put him at odds with members of the gay community. In 1977, Kight began what became a national Coors boycott to expose how the Coors Brewing Company used its millions to finance union busting legislation and anti-gay politicians. Morris infuriated organizers of Outfest the year the festival accepted Coors funding. He organized a demonstration in front of the event, using the opportunity to educate the community about the ways anti-gay corporations try to clean up their public image by funding cash-starved gay organizations and events. Morris persevered and Outfest no longer accepts Coors funding. Gay rights activities[edit] In 1958, Kight moved to Los Angeles, where he was the founder or co-founder of many gay and lesbian organizations. The first such organization was the 'militant' Committee for Homosexual Freedom or CHF, with Leo Laurence, Gale Whittington, Mother Boats and others, later to be renamed the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in October 1969, the third GLF in the country (after New York City and Berkeley). The name was used to show solidarity with the Vietnamese National Liberation Front. By the next year, there were over 350 GLF organizations around the country.[2] He also co-founded Christopher Street West gay pride parade in Los Angeles in 1970, Aid For AIDS in 1983, and the Gay Community Center in 1971, (now the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center), the Stonewall Democratic Club in 1975, and many others.[5] Kight remarked that creating the Community Center was the achievement of which he was most proud. Kight brought his experiences in political action into the realm of gay rights. One of the first actions by the LA GLF was against a local eatery called Barney's Beanery. The restaurant, located in West Hollywood, not only had a sign above bar that said “Fagots [sic] Stay Out”, but also printed up matchbook covers with the same saying. Kight, along with Troy Perry and 100 activists protested outside, sending in protesters occasionally to order coffee and take up space at the tables. The protest was initially successful - the owner eventually handed Kight the sign in front of news cameras. But after the media left the owner replaced the sign, where it remained until West Hollywood's first lesbian mayor, Valerie Terrigno, took it down when the city council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance. Perry vowed at the initial protest to never set foot in the place again until the owner apologized, which finally happened in 2005. The new owner, David Houston, has apologized and, among other methods to reach out to the gay community, holds monthly lunches for disadvantaged gay youth.[6] Kight was one of the leaders of the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.[7] He was subsequently one of the organizers of the 1988 March on Sacramento for Lesbian and Gay Rights, at which Leonard Matlovich gave his last public speech. He served on the County of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission for two decades. In 2003 the City of Los Angeles dedicated the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden Place, in Hollywood, California as "Morris Kight Square." This location was selected as it was the stepping off point for Christopher Street West, the very first street-closing gay pride parade in the world.[citation needed] Twilight Years[edit] Toward the end of his life, Kight had several strokes that slowed him down. There is a Chinese magnolia tree and a bronze plaque dedicated to him at the Matthew Shepard Triangle in West Hollywood. Morris Kight used to visit this park weekly to tidy up the area, water and plant new flowers. He encouraged others to do the same. On November 16, 1998, just before his 79th birthday, the City Council of West Hollywood presented him a Lifetime Achievement Award In September 2001, he made a video documentary with West Hollywood Public Access host James Fuhrman called “Early Gay and Lesbian History in Los Angeles”, which included his recollections of the Beanery protest and other actions. He had a longtime companion named Roy Zucheran. Three days before his death, he donated his memorabilia and archives to the National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. UCLA also has possession of some of his archives. He died peacefully at the Carl Bean Hospice in Los Angeles, on January 19, 2003.

References[edit] ^ Rapp, Linda (2004-12-28). "Kight, Morris (1919-2003)". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. glbtq, inc. pp. 3 pgs. Retrieved 2007-01-28.  ^ a b c Nardi, Peter M.; Sanders, David; Marmor, Judd (1994). Growing Up Before Stonewall. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10152-2.  ^ "Kight, Morris (1919-2003)". Retrieved 2007-02-04.  ^ Ceci, Steven. "Gay activist Morris Kight: 50 years of struggle, 50 years of pride". Workers World. Retrieved 2007-02-05.  ^ " obituary". Retrieved 2007-02-04.  ^ "Barney's Beanery Repents". Los Angeles Independent. June 22, 2005. Archived from the original on May 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  ^ "How Far We've Come". Retrieved 2015-06-27. 

External links[edit] "Interview with Morris Kight" - Gay Asia Pacific Support Network Morris Kight on IMDb Gay Today interview Gay and Lesbian - Political Action & Support Groups – Memorial Honors Gay Rights Pioneer Morris Kight The Advocate - obituary v t e Early LGBT rights advocacy in the United States (pre–Stonewall riots) Organizations Council on Religion and the Homosexual Daughters of Bilitis Janus Society Knights of the Clock Mattachine Society Metropolitan Community Church NACHO ONE, Inc. PRIDE Society for Human Rights Student Homophile League Veterans Benevolent Association Mattachine Society Hal Call Rudi Gernreich James Gruber Harry Hay Dale Jennings Frank Kameny Jack Nichols Daughters of Bilitis Lisa Ben Barbara Gittings Barbara Grier Kay Lahusen Phyllis Lyon Del Martin Ruth Simpson Others Merton Bird Reed Erickson Arthur Evans Charles Henri Ford Henry Gerber Morris Kight Aristide Laurent W. Dorr Legg Bob Mizer Troy Perry Clark Polak Craig Rodwell José Sarria Parker Tyler Randy Wicker H. Lynn Womack Publications The Advocate Drum Focus: A Journal for Lesbians Journal of Homosexuality The Ladder Vice Versa Events List of actions Newport sex scandal (1919) Secret Court of 1920 (1920) One, Inc. v. Olesen (1958) MANual Enterprises v. Day (1962) Annual Reminder (1965–1969) Compton's Cafeteria riot (1966) Film/TV The Rejected (1961) "The Homosexuals" (1967) Related Athletic Model Guild Black Cat Bar Black Cat Tavern DOB Australia Homophile Garden of Allah (cabaret) Julius (NYC bar) Henry Gerber House Minorities Research Group (UK) ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives Oscar Wilde Bookshop The Patch Tavern Guild Authority control WorldCat Identities VIAF: 75792526 SNAC: w6cc2k6h Retrieved from "" Categories: American civil rights activistsGay menLGBT rights activists from the United StatesLGBT people from CaliforniaLGBT people from Texas1919 births2003 deathsAmerican pacifistsAmerican anti–Vietnam War activistsLGBT culture in Los AngelesLGBT history in CaliforniaPeople from Comanche County, TexasPeople from Los AngelesActivists from CaliforniaActivists from TexasHidden categories: Articles with hCardsAll articles with unsourced statementsArticles with unsourced statements from September 2010Wikipedia articles with VIAF identifiersWikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers

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