Buried: Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA, Plot: R20/167S
Buried alongside: Larry Martin Worrell
The Congressional Cemetery or Washington Parish Burial Ground is a historic and active cemetery located at 1801 E Street, SE, in Washington, D.C., on the west bank of the Anacostia River.
Address: 1801 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA (38.88128, -76.98056)
Type: Cemetery (open to public)
Hours: Monday through Friday 9.00-17.00
Phone: +1 202-543-0539
National Register of Historic Places: 69000292, 1969. Also National Historic Landmarks.
It is the only American "cemetery of national memory" founded before the Civil War. Over 65,000 individuals are buried or memorialized at the cemetery, including many who helped form the nation and the city of Washington in the early XIX century. Though the cemetery is privately owned, the U.S. government owns 806 burial plots administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Congress, located about a mile and a half (2.4 km) to the northwest, has greatly influenced the history of the cemetery. The cemetery still sells plots, and is an active burial ground. From the Washington Metro, the cemetery lies three blocks east of the Potomac Avenue station and two blocks south of the Stadium-Armory station. Many members of the U.S. Congress who died while Congress was in session are interred at Congressional Cemetery. Other burials include early landowners and speculators, the builders and architects of early Washington, Native American diplomats, Washington mayors, and Civil War veterans. XIX century Washington, D.C. families unaffiliated with the federal government also have graves and tombs at the cemetery. In all, there are one Vice President, one Supreme Court justice, six Cabinet members, 19 Senators and 71 Representatives (including a former Speaker of the House) buried there, as well as veterans of every American war, and the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover. Peter Doyle, (June 3, 1843-April 19, 1907), a veteran of the Confederate Army, and the greatest love of poet Walt Whitman is buried here. They met in Washington, D.C. on the horse-drawn streetcar for which Doyle was the conductor who later recalled, “We were familiar at once – I put my hand on his knee – we understood. He did not get out at the end of the trip – in fact went all the way back with me.” Whitman wrote in one letter to him, “I will imagine you with my arm around my neck saying Good night, Walt - & me – Good night, Pete.”
Notable queer burials at Congressional Cemetery:
• Everett Lysle Boyer (1927-1998) & Forrest Leroy Snakenberg (1932-1986). Boyer's tombstone reads: Arise up my love, Tis the time of singing birds (Song of Solomon 2:12), Snakenberg's, same style of that of Everett, reads: So be truely glad there is wonderful joy ahead (Peter 1:6)
• Kenneth Dresser (1938-1995) and Charles Fowler (1931-1995) are buried together. Dresser designed the Electric Light Parade at Disneyland, the Electric Water Pageant at Epcot, and the Fantasy of Lights at Callaway Gardens, Georgia. Fowler was an arts educator and writer, director of National Cultural Resources, Inc, and a guest professor at several American universities.
• James Richard Duell (1947-1992) and Larry Martin Worrell (1954-1989). The tombstone reads: "Two most excellent adventures"
• John Frey (1929-1997) and Peter Morris (1929-2010), together 43 years, met while at college together. Frey was a Fulbright Scholar, professor of Romance Languages at George Washington University, and author of books on Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. Morris was an expert French cook, and on the Board of Directors of the gay Catholic organization Dignity for whom he coauthored a community cookbook.
• Barbara Gittings (1932-2007) helped convince the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness. She founded the New York chapter of the lesbian rights organization the Daughter of Bilitis. The tombstone reads: Gay Pioneers who spoke truth to power: Gay is good. Partners in life, Married in our hearts.
• Dan Hering (1925-2012) was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and served 20 years in the U.S. Army. He and his partner Joel were members of one of the earliest gay right groups, the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) formed in 1964. They were founding members of the earliest known gay boat club, San Francisco’s Barbary Coast Boating Club. Dan was also a member of Service Academy Gay & Lesbian Alumni (SAGLA) and Knights Out, the association of gay West Point graduates. His partner Joel Leenaars (born 1935) lives at 1533 Weybridge Cir, Naples, FL.
• Frank Kameny (1925-2011) was a WWII veteran and the father of the modern gay rights movement.
• Alain LeRoy Locke (1885-1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. Distinguished as the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907, Locke was the philosophical architect —the acknowledged "Dean"— of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke was gay, and may have encouraged and supported other gay African-Americans who were part of the Harlem Renaissance. However, he was not fully public in his orientation and referred to it as his point of "vulnerable/invulnerability", taken to mean an area of risk and strength in his view. Howard University officials initially considered having Locke's ashes buried in a niche at Locke Hall on the Howard campus, similar to the way that Langston Hughes' ashes were interred at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City in 1991. But Kurt Schmoke, the university's legal counsel, was concerned about setting a precedent that might lead to other burials at the university. After an investigation revealed no legal problems to the plan, university officials decided the remains should be buried off-site. At first, thought was given to burying Locke beside his mother, Mary Hawkins Locke. But Howard officials quickly discovered a problem: She had been interred at Columbian Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C., but that cemetery closed in 1959 and her remains transferred to National Harmony Memorial Park—which failed to keep track of them. (She was buried in a mass grave along with 37,000 other unclaimed remains from Columbian Harmony.) Howard University eventually decided to bury Alain Locke's remains at historic Congressional Cemetery, and African American Rhodes Scholars raised $8,000 to purchase a burial plot there. Locke was interred at Congressional Cemetery on September 13, 2014. His tombstone reads: 1885–1954, Herald of the Harlem Renaissance, Exponent of Cultural Pluralism. On the back of the headstone is a nine-pointed Bahá'í star (representing Locke's religious beliefs); a Zimbabwe Bird, emblem of the nation Locke adopted as a Rhodes Scholar; a lambda, symbol of the gay rights movement; and the logo of Phi Beta Sigma, the fraternity Locke joined. In the center of these four symbols is an Art Deco representation of an African woman's face set against the rays of the sun. This image is a simplified version of the bookplate that Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas designed for Locke. Below the bookplate image are the words "Teneo te, Africa" ("I hold you, my Africa").
• T. Sgt. Leonard Matlovich (1943-1988), was a gay civil rights and AIDS activist, his tombstone reads: "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."
• William Boyce Mueller (1942–1993) was the gay grandson of the founder of the Boy Scout of America. Mueller helped create the first organization to lobby today’s Scout oligarchs to end their ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders, Forgotten Scouts.
• Frank Warren O’Reilly (1922-2001) was a WWII veteran with a Ph.D. in International Relations, and a music critic for The Washington Times, and founder of Miami’s Charles Ives Centennial Festival and the American Chopin Foundation which sponsors an annual national Chopin competition.
• Emanuel “Butch” Zeigler (1951-2009) was a onetime elementary school teacher, and co-owner of Capital Promoting Service whose clients include Heads of State and major corporations.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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