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Date: March 10, 2011
Location: Leon Levy Center for Biography
A SAVING REMNANT
The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds
by Martin Duberman
The New Press
“Brilliantly researched and beautifully written, A Saving Remnant offers a timely lesson for contemporary activists who still dare to imagine—and struggle for—a more equitable and peaceful world.”
—Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Harvard University
By the time their paths first crossed in the 1960s, Barbara Deming and David McReynolds had each charted a unique course through the political and social worlds of the American left. Deming, a feminist, journalist, and political activist with an abiding belief in nonviolence, had been an out lesbian since the age of sixteen. The first openly gay man to run for president of the United States, on the Socialist Party ticket, McReynolds was also a longtime opponent of the Vietnam War—he was among the first activists to publicly burn a draft card after this became a felony—and friend to leading activists and artists from Bayard Rustin to Quentin Crisp.
In this remarkable dual biography, the prize-winning historian Martin Duberman reveals a vital historical milieu of activism, radical ideas, and coming to terms with homosexuality when the gay rights movement was still in its nascent stages. With a cast of characters that includes intellectuals, artists, and activists from the critic Edmund White and the writer Mary McCarthy to the young Alvin Ailey and Allen Ginsberg, A Saving Remnant is a brilliant achievement from one of our most important historians.
Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the CUNY Graduate School, where he founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. His many books include the memoir Cures: A Gay Man’s Odyssey and The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography. His awards include the Bancroft Prize, the Lambda Book Award, and an American Historical Association Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York.