On September 23, 1970, a group of antiwar activists staged a robbery at a bank in Massachusetts, during which a police officer was killed. While the three men who participated in the robbery were soon apprehended, two women escaped and became fugitives on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, eventually landing in a lesbian collective in Lexington, Kentucky, during the summer of 1974. In pursuit, the FBI launched a massive dragnet. Five lesbian women and one gay man ended up in jail for refusing to cooperate with federal officials, whom they saw as invading their lives and community. Dubbed the Lexington Six, the group's resistance attracted national attention, inspiring a nationwide movement in other minority communities. Like the iconic Stonewall demonstrations, this gripping story of spirited defiance has special resonance in today's America.
Drawing on transcripts of the judicial hearings, contemporaneous newspaper accounts, hundreds of pages of FBI files released to the author under the Freedom of Information Act, and interviews with many of the participants, Josephine Donovan reconstructs this fascinating, untold story. The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020) is a vital addition to LGBTQ, feminist, and radical American history.
Josephine Donovan is professor emerita of English at the University of Maine, Orono.
John Marszalek III is author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi). He is clinical faculty of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern New Hampshire University. Website: Johnmarszalek3.com Twitter: @marsjf3