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Diversity Amongst Us
Three Different Men –Three Distinct Profiles
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On the Dock

 NOV 1997
Volume 3 Number 1

Diversity Amongst Us

COVER STORY
Diversity Amongst Us

4 James Forman, the Revolutionary

5 Why a Gay Man Married a Woman?

5 For More than Raw Muscle

FEATURES
6 Women Checking Out the Men

12 Nine Months Later

13 Food & Fun Recipes

17 Poetry Pier

19 Racial Economics & the Myth of the Black Middle Class

DEPARTMENTS 

MUSIC
3 Gospel Recording Artist Jamila Woods on Her Men & Music

HISTORY/BLACK MEMORABILIA
8 In Search of an Old Kentucky Home

WHERE WE LIVE
10 We Live in Southeast, Too! A Look at Penn-Branch

NEWSCAP
14 Our Central-American Cousins Observe Bicentennial

24 Does this Native-Born African Look White to You?


Synopsis

james formanJames Forman, the Revolutionary

The Supremes, while breaking musical barriers, would often find themselves sneaking out of back doors to avoid crowds. James Forman, as executive director for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1961 to 1966 and International Affairs Director from 1966 to 1969, also recalls breaking barriers and wanting to avoid pounding human flesh like the White mob that encircled him in Monroe, North Carolina.

gregory hutuchings, jrWhy a Gay Man Married a Woman

According to Gregory Hutchings, Jr., he didn’t set out to create this history. He followed all the rules dictated by his upbringing, even the rites of passage, “Having a woman, eventually getting married, going to college and having a nice job . . . those were the things my life was built around, “ he says. “This is the way I had been trained and taught all my life, and I followed that pattern.”

rayan gentlesFor More Than Just Raw Muscle

Sepia-toned cover model Ryan Gentles was 25 when he left the well-paying world of New York’s Wall Street and Commodities Exchange for the world of physical exercise. “ I came to a crossroads and decided that  what I was doing was not fulfilling. The money was great, but it was just not what I wanted to do,” says the 6’2 210-pound former stock broker and silver trader.

James Forman, the Revolutionary

james formanFor young Negroes, are African-Americans were then called, 1964 was an exceptionally ironic year. Many Americans were falling in love with three young Negroes,  the Supremes, and many hated the presence of others like lifelong revolutionist James Forman.

The Supremes, while breaking musical barriers, would often find themselves sneaking out of back doors to avoid crowds. Forman, as executive director for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1961 to 1966 and International Affairs Director from 1966 to 1969, also recalls breaking barriers and wanting to avoid pounding human flesh like the White mob that encircled him in Monroe, North Carolina.

“If you move one step, I’m going to blow your black brains back to Africa,’’ Forman remembers a trigger person commanding him as the barrel of the White man’s rifle stared him dead in his face. And as if the surrounding horde was the gunman’s backup singers  he heard them chanting in harmony, "kill the nigger, kill the nigger!”

Forman, who is  often confused with James Farmer, the former Director of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), because of their similar names and sacrifices, talked briefly about his and SNCC’s contributions to American democracy after a gathering of Washington area alumni of Chicago’s historic Roosevelt University.

 “I developed my life to humanity back in 1946 when I was in high school,” says Forman.  Because of their philosophies toward humankind, Roosevelt University and Forman were made for each other.

The school grew out of YMCA College after its president refused to obey a Board of Trustees’ order that would have led to fewer Black World War II freedom fighters entering the college. Named after Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the new university opened its door on the principles of equal education for all people long before it became in vogue during the 1960s. At Roosevelt, Forman served as president of the student body from 1955 to 1956.

In a time when formal apartheid was the norm, Forman recalls that it was the non-segregated Roosevelt experience that “invigorated” and prepared him for his battles while working with SNCC.

SNCC was founded in 1960 during a Student Leadership Conference at Shaw University at Raleigh, North Carolina to coordinate the nonviolent direct action protest by Black students. SNCC first gained national attention in 1961 when it launched the “Freedom Rides” where college-aged Black and White members rode Greyhound buses into the South to protest segregated facilities.

As executive director, Forman was responsible for staffing while the chairperson served as the main spokesperson for the group. Many 0f SNCC’s leaders are now well-known and are icons of the Civil Rights movement including its first chairperson, Marion Barry, who was followed by Charles McDew, now U.S. House of Representative John Lewis ( D-GA ) and Trinidadian Stokely Carmichael.  

Carmichael, who popularized the “Black Power” phrases, later adopted a more militant stance, the name Kwame Toure and the Black Panther Party. By 1964, its last chairperson, H. Rapp Brown  (now known as Jamil Abdullah AL-Amin), abandoned SNCC’s stance of nonviolence at any cost. After SNCC, Forman remained an active revolutionist while earning a Master’s Degree in Afro-American and African history from Cornell University in 1980 and a doctorate in political history from Union Institution in 1982. He also fathered two sons, James Robert Lumumba and Chaka Esmond Fanon.

 The 69-year-old Forman now heads a lobbying organization, the Unemployment and Poverty Action Committee (UPAC), and remains a steadfast advocate for another voting rights issue: D.C. Statehood. He is also currently promoting his republished autobiography and personal account of the Civil Rights Era, The Making of Black Revolutionaries, and is on the lecture circuit.

Noting the contributions of the ‘60s revolutionaries, Forman observed, “We have helped open the doors for a lot of people. Some of whom are making are a lot of money off their education and are using the money and their education to make even more money.’’

Since 1991, a new battle has confronted Forman, cancer. ‘’ Friends of James Forman’’ recently began raising money for him.  Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez of SNCC’s New York offices said, ‘’As you know, civil rights work and political activism do not come with a living wage, health or disability insurance and a retirement pension.’’

In retrospect, Forman added, ‘’I never tried to figure out what would have happened if I had decided to not live for humanity, except that I realize that there would have been one less person working for change.’’ 

Why a Gay Man Married a Woman

gregory hutuchings, jrSecrets. Private thoughts known only to us. This is a story about secrets and truths. When do you tell? When do you reveal something buried deep within? Greg Hutchings says he knew the truth about his sexual preference at age 13 and lived with a lie for nearly 20 years.

According to Hutchings, he didn’t set out to create this history. He followed all the rules dictated by his upbringing, even the rites of passage, “Having a woman, eventually getting married, going to college and having a nice job . . . those were the things my life was built around, “ he says. “This is the way I had been trained and taught all my life, and I followed that pattern.”

“Ours was the perfect love story,” Hutchings says about his relationship with his former wife. “We grew up together. I knew her family, and she knew mine.  It was the regular high school romance. We met when I was about 13 or 14 in Dayton, Ohio.”

When she became pregnant at age 15 and he was 16, they thought that getting married would be the responsible thing to do. “Our daughter was born while I was in my first year of college at Howard University. However, we decided that we would not get married until my girlfriend graduated from high school,” he recalls.

They got married, he continued his education, she moved to Washington and found a job, and they began building a life together. Despite his responsibilities, Hutchings graduated from Howard. “We had two more kids within the next eight years,” recalls the now 42 year-old grandfather.

During their 13-year marriage, Hutchings was faithful to his wife. “I did not mess around during that period,” he quickly added. He had a house, kids and cars, but he realized that something in his life was missing.

Reflecting on his early 30s, Hutchings remembers, “I began to ask myself, was I living my life the way others wanted it to be or was I living my life for me? I guess I’m different from some others because I couldn’t live two separate lives. I couldn’t be deceptive.”

Time had matured Hutchings. At an earlier age, he thought he could put everything about his same gender sexual preference behind him. “I thought if I followed the given pattern, I’d forget my sexuality,” he explained. “I eventually came to a point where I had to make a choice. I did not want to leave my wife for another man or leave my wife because of my sexuality. I wanted to leave my wife to live my life.

How Does a Woman Discover Her Man’s True Sexual Preference

With the popularity of songs like "Bill," movies such as In and Out, and books like Invisible Life, tales of hidden sexuality are becoming known to the public. However, Hutchings says nothing is secretive about sexual diversity. “Perhaps people know the truth, but fail to accept it so they can attempt to hold on to a mate,” he questioned.

According to Hutchings, Washington, D.C. is the gay capital of America and 50 percent of the African American men living in D.C. are either gay or have gay tendencies. As a result, Hutchings says, women must begin to not only ask questions about the men in their lives, but they must also be very observant about their relationships. “If you see something that does not seem right about a relationship, then question it. A man cannot give his attention 100 per cent to you if he is somewhere else mentally and emotionally,” he says.

“If you see something different or strange bring it up! You may not be able to say, hey, he’s gay, but you may be able to say something’s wrong here—something is wrong with our interaction.” Asking questions is critical to any relationship, he advised, “Because unasked questions can cause years of agony for all people involved.”

For More Than Just Raw Muscle

rayan gentlesSepia-toned cover model Ryan Gentles was 25 when he left the well-paying world of New York’s Wall Street and Commodities Exchange for the world of physical exercise. “I came to a crossroads and decided that  what I was doing was not fulfilling. The money was great, but it was just not what I wanted to do,” says the 6’2 210-pound former stock broker and silver trader.

A Scorpio, Gentles was born November 5, 1970 in Brooklyn. The third of four very athletic siblings, he grew up playing football and basketball.  But, an ankle injury while playing for a California high school team led him to his current calling. “When I got injured, I took up weight lifting and found out that I liked it” says the lean dreadlocked bodybuilder.

Over the years, weight lifting became more of a lifestyle for the now certified personal trainer (CPT), who works a 52-inch chiseled hairless chest and a tight 32-inch waist. To become certified, he passed an examination given by the American Council on Exercise in 1995.

“Taking classes in anatomy and physiology helped me pass the test,” he continued with modesty, “but, I learned my skills and knowledge through a lot of reading and working out in the gym over several years.”

As a CTP, Gentles works with more than 100 clients and teaches them the function of muscles versus just how to lift weights. “There is a high chance of injury when you lift weights improperly, so I teach people to lift weights together with the function of the muscle,” explained the cover man and November ’97 pinup for the Mr. Apollo “The Elite Male” calendar.

“I chose Gentles to be in our calendar last year and again this year because I knew that women would love him-and they do!” says Susan Jones, Editor of the Mr. Apollo calendar. “I was happy to be chosen because it gave me a chance to do something for my community and The Apollo Theater,” added the brown-eyed gentles whose nearly trimmed goatee squares his full lips.

Beyond posing in front of cameras and helping others make their dreams a reality, Gentles is also building his own physical and financial portfolio including working on a certificate in massage therapy to cap his undergraduate degree in finance from New York’s Baruch College.

Eventually, he wants to combine his love of sports and fitness into a sports and fitness company. With American life becoming more sedentary, Gentles sees a booming market for those who want to remain fit and healthy.

“Taking care of yourself now is a health and quality-of- life issue,” continued the health enthusiast, “if you don’t take care of yourself today, you will pay for it tomorrow.”