Watkins, Jr. Tommie L. papers
Span Dates: 2000-2005
Volume: 0.3 cubic feet
Papers of Rev. Tommie Lee Watkins Jr., documenting his interaction with the U.S. Navy regarding their demand that he repay tuition. During the three-year administrative process, Watkins asserted that the Navy's insistence that he repay tuition when it had excused numerous cases involving white students was influenced by racism. His papers also document his views on communities of faith and the inclusion and affirmation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, those questioning their sexuality, people living with AIDS, and their families. Includes correspondence, essays, clippings, and a videorecording of a service at Miami, Florida's Greater Bethel A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal Church) Church on April 15, 2001, where Watkins worked as program director for HIV/AIDS prevention education.
Ordained a Baptist minister in 1991, Watkins served as youth minister at the First Missionary Baptist Church of Hueytown in Bessemer, Alabama. He attended the United States Naval Academy from 1994 to 1997, where he was elected class president and earned the rank of battalion commander. In 1997, he resigned after allegations of homosexual activity. He finished his degree at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, and has worked as a business analyst, math teacher, and health educator focusing on gay youth and communities of color. In 2000, the South Florida Conference of the AME Church denied his application for ordination as an A.M.E. itinerent deacon (the lowest level of itinerent minister). He founded the Ministry of Reconciliation, which is an inclusive and affirming education and worship experience primarily for Black Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning persons, Persons Living With AIDS (PLWAs), and their family members. In 2005, Watkins published a book about his life experiences titled "Living Out Loud."
A finding aid is available online.
This collection is found in the Human Sexuality Collection at the Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Ithaca, New York.
AIDS (Disease) -- Religious aspects,
Church work with gays -- United States,
Gay Clergy -- United States,
Gays -- Religious Life,
African Methodist Episcopal Church,
African American gays,
U.S. military -- gays,
Race Discrimination U.S.,
Watkins, Tommie L.,