Martha Altman, later Martha Shelley, was born on December 27, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York, to parents of Russian-Polish Jewish descent. Samuel R. Delany was a Bronx High School of Science friend. She was involved in a group based on the work of Harry Stack Sullivan which led to her first Anti-Vietnam War movement protest. In 1965 she graduated from City College. In November 1967 she went to her first meeting of the New York City chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) and of which she later became president. Because of FBI surveillance, members of the DOB were encouraged to take aliases. Altman took Shelley as a surname. While working for Barnard College, she joined the Student Homophile League and worked with Stephen Donaldson.
She was in Greenwich Village the night of the Stonewall riots with women who were starting a DOB chapter in Boston. Recognizing the significance of the event and being politically aware she proposed a protest march and as a result DOB and Mattachine sponsored a demonstration. According to an article in the program for the first San Francisco pride march she was one of the first four members of the Gay Liberation Front the others being Michael Brown, Jerry Hoose and Jim Owles. Certainly she was one of the twenty or so women and men who formed Gay Liberation Front immediately after Stonewall and was outspoken in many of their confrontations. She wrote for Come Out!.
In 1970 she was instrumental in the Lavender Menace zap of the Second Congress to Unite Women. She produced the radio show Lesbian nation on New York's WBAI radio station. After moving to Oakland, California in October 1974, she was involved with the Women's Press Collective where she worked with Judy Grahn to produce Crossing the DMZ, In other words, Lesbians speak out and other books. Her poetry has appeared in Ms. magazine, 'Sunbury, The bright Medusa, We become new and other periodicals. Shelley appeared in the 2010 documentary Stonewall Uprising, an episode of the American Experience series.
Martha Shelley by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1125709)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Haggadah: A Celebration of Freedom by Martha Shelley
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Aunt Lute Books; 1st edition (December 1, 1997)
Amazon: The Current Between Us
A celebration of freedom for all peoples during the season of Passover.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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