Sons of Sappho 1995 Reunion

The Sons of Sappho (later known as the Sappho Socialites), founded by Yvonne Hudson and Ernestine Medley in 1965, was a group of black lesbians in the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to celebrating their identities and forming community. This video features footage from a 1995 reunion of the Sons of Sappho, including video of the event and interviews with its members.

0:22Copy video clip URL Roberta and Diane from Detroit, Michigan, as well as an older woman, sit down for an interview. Roberta and Diana express their excitement for the Sons of Sappho event. The older woman explains her relationship to the Sons of Sappho organization and the lesbian community in Chicago.

2:21Copy video clip URL Another attendee, who joined Sons of Sappho ten years before the interview, states that the draw of the organization for her is connecting with friends. Laverne, a member of Sons of Sappho, also chimes in with her thoughts on the organization. The two share advice for young lesbians.

4:50Copy video clip URL In another interview, a woman talks about parties she attended in the Tiki Room on twenty-second street in the eighties and answers several other question, including her thoughts on the event. 

7:18Copy video clip URL Another member, when asked about her history with Sons of Sappho, recalls an affair held on seventy-seventh and Stony Island. A friend sits down next to her, and the two chat and catch up. They fondly recall a masquerade ball. When asked about the lesbian community at the time of taping, the member laments, “It’s nothing now. After they quit giving affairs, they are no more. It’s nothing no more.” On the topic of the younger lesbian community, she has several constructive things to say. “We treated it as if we were a household. We respected each other. If you met someone that had kids, we helped raise children. You know, that made a big difference. We got a lot of respect. The youngsters don’t really give the respect that I feel they’re supposed to give.”

10:48Copy video clip URL Another attendee talks about the founding of Sons of Sappho and the climate lesbians of the time had to face. “Right now, you can see people going down the street. They’re holding hands. They’re kissing. We couldn’t do that. We couldn’t do all of that. You couldn’t even really get too close to someone.” Another member chimes in: “It was beautiful, though. We had to hide it, but it was still beautiful.” The two women recount the places lesbians used to meet and express their excitement to see old friends.

13:21Copy video clip URL A fifty-four-year-old woman talks about going to Sappho since she was twenty-one, specifically the parties, and her excitement for the event.

16:16Copy video clip URL “I think it’s great, celebrating our elders,” says a younger attendee attending her first Sons of Sappho event.

16:48Copy video clip URL In a large dining area, members chat with one another. The interviewer pulls one member out into the hallway, a quieter area. 

19:42Copy video clip URL Nancy, a member, talks about her thirty-year history with the Sons of Sappho. A second woman, who has been associated with Sappho for the past four years, joins them. Nancy talks about hardships in the past, and how they pulled together to survive. The interview finishes with a discussion of the event happening at the time of filming.

24:43Copy video clip URL Woody, Jean McMiller (Woody’s partner), and Gerald talk about their affiliation with Maxine and the Sapphos. 

27:14Copy video clip URL Back in the dining area, music plays as attendees mingle.

29:05Copy video clip URL An interview with Joel, also known as “Little Joe.” Joel talks about parties hosted at the ballroom on 48th and Cicero. 

31:31Copy video clip URL An interview with two more attendees, who also mention the Tiki Room.

33:31Copy video clip URL Footage from the reception. 



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