Leigh Ann Wheeler is a professor of history at Binghamton University, State University of New York, where she teaches modern U.S. history, including specific courses on women, sexuality, sex and law, civil liberties, and social movements. She is the author of How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (2014) and Against Obscenity: Reform and the Politics of Womanhood in America, 1873–1935 (2004). A former coeditor of the Journal of Women's History, she currently serves as a senior editor for Oxford University Press's Research Encyclopedia of American History. Her current project is a biography of Anne Moody, author of the unforgettable memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968).
This lecture tells a few of the many low-profile but crucial stories about activists who deliberately worked behind the scenes in the 1960s and 1970s to lay groundwork for establishing what would become known as gay rights.