Spear, Allan H. 1937-2008 (Allan Spear, Allan Henry Spear)

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Spear, Allan H. 1937-2008 (Allan Spear, Allan Henry Spear)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 24, 1937, in Michigan City, IN; died of complications from heart surgery, October 11, 2008. Historian, educator, legislator, human rights activist, and author. Spear was a professor of history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, having joined the faculty as a lecturer in 1964. In 1972 he was elected to the Minnesota State Senate as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. One year after taking his seat in the state legislature, as the result of an interview for the Minneapolis Star, Spear became one of the very first openly gay lawmakers in the United States. Despite his announcement in the early, highly controversial days of gay-lesbian activism for parity in American society, Spear won several reelections to the Senate over the next twenty-five years, retiring in 2000 as the president of the legislative body. One of Spear's political goals was to update the state Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as a protected designation. It took many years of activism, but the amendment became law in 1993. Spear was more of a reformer than a writer, but in addition to articles for history journals, he was also the author of Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920 (1967).



Chicago Tribune, October 14, 2008, sec. 1, p. 29.