Seminar, African American History

Let Me Be Somebody: Fabian Bridges & Quarantine Proposals During the HIV & AIDS Crisis in America

Author: Andrew Pope, Harvard University
Comment: TBA

Thursday, March 3, 2022, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

This article examines efforts to quarantine people with AIDS during the mid-1980s. The campaign started after a PBS documentary aired about Fabian Bridges, a Black gay man, in 1986. Bridges lost his job and home after an AIDS diagnosis. As Bridges grew desperate, PBS producers offered him a deal: they would pay him in exchange for him giving interviews claiming to be a sex worker who continued to have unprotected sex. The ensuing public panic led to more than 40 states considering legislation mandating quarantine of gay men. The article analyzes campaigns to defeat proposals in Texas, Georgia, and California.

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