Curtis Wadlington Oral History
Curtis Wadlington (1957-2012) grew up in Cobbs Creek, a neighborhood in West Philadelphia, where he spent most of his life. As a teenager, Wadlington began working as a camp counselor, which marked the beginning of his career in human services. Although he had romantic and sexual relationships with men, Wadlington did not identify with Philadelphia's downtown "gayborhood," on account of the racism that he and other men of color experienced there. As AIDS began to strike gay men and people of color in the early 1980s, Wadlington and others accused Philadelphia AIDS groups, which were primarily oriented toward white gay men, of ignoring the growing epidemic in the city's African American community. Thus, Wadlington became an early member of Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues (BEBASHI), one of the country's first black AIDS service organizations. Today BEBASHI continues its mission of improving the health of economically disadvantaged Philadelphians.
This interview was conducted by Dan Royles for the African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project on May 9, 2012. This interview was indexed using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer by Maria Santiago in June 2016, thanks to generous support from the Chris Webber Memorial Fund.
African American AIDS History Project and African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project are licensed by Dan Royles under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please note individual copyright restrictions for some images.