As a young gay man in Charlotte of the 1980s, I managed to snag a fake ID that was realistic enough to convince bar owners I was five years older than I actually was. The fact that I was over six feet tall came in handy, too. There’s something about height that implies age.
Fifty years ago, I was a 16-year old high school student in Miami; and I did not learn about Stonewall until I read my first gay newspaper two years later. Today, almost every high school student in America knows about Stonewall. What was once unmentionable is now part of our country’s political and social history.
The “Manifest Future” mural is a collaborative creative project — the brainchild of Janelle Dunlap and the League of Creative Interventionists, with partners including the Knight Foundation and Historic West End — and aims to reclaim a neglected lot on Charlotte’s West Side as a unifying force in the rapidly gentrifying African-American neighborhood.