Literary Nonfiction. Fiction. Poetry. Essays. African American Studies. LGBT Studies. In IN THE LIFE, 29 black authors explore what it means to be doubly different—both black and gay—in modern America. These stories, verses, works of art and theater pieces voice the concerns and aspirations of an often silent minority. They can be poignant, erotic, resolute, or angry, but always reflect the affirming power of coming together to build a strong black gay community. In the introduction to the original 1986 edition, editor Joseph Beam wrote, "The bottom line is this: We are Black men who are proudly gay. What we offer is our lives, our love, our visions...We are coming home with our heads held up high." This twentieth anniversary edition includes a new introduction by James Earl Hardy.
Joseph Beam (1954-1988) was a cultural and political activist, writer, editor and beloved son. Beam edited IN THE LIFE, the groundbreaking anthology of black gay writing, originally published in 1986. He was a board member of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays; was founding editor of Black/Out magazine; served on the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee; and, prior to his death, had begun working on the book BROTHER TO BROTHER. Joseph Beam was a man who cared deeply about "black men loving black men."