Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Legible Legacy: Candice Boyce

from the mobilehomecoming project

I knew her first through the curve of her signature, the pressure of her type-written words, the persistence of her mimeographed hand. Candice Boyce, the signature announcing and insisting on the existence of a publication like none I had ever seen before, the Salsa Soul Third World Women's Gayzette. As I sat in the upstairs room of the Lesbian Herstory Archive imagining what it must have been like to create an affirming and magical social world for lesbians of color in the 1970's and 80's it was Candice's signature that I traced over with my fingers, with gratitude. It was Candice's name that I saw behind my eyelids when I closed them to breathe: "thank you, for leaving a record."

Without the work Candice did, I never would have known about the Salsa Soul Sisters. And because of Candice's textual vigilance when I sat in a room with Harriet Alston and Carolyn Gray and heard them talk about Salsa Soul, I felt as if I already knew them, as if meeting them was coming home. Without Candice we may have never had the conversation and the context to create the MobileHomeComing Project.

Maybe Candice knew we were coming, those younger quirky queer world creating women who would need to know that we were not the first to make the world over in our own images, to build affirming space, and craft our own rituals, because according to Harriet she was diligent with her camera, one of these people with a visionary talent for remembering the future, and therefore documenting the present. Every click of her camera said we were here. This happened. Never again will anyone be able to say lesbian women of color who love themselves and love each other did not exist.

By the time we started seeking out and celebrating Salsa Soul members, Candice was already very sick. We learned about her past adventures through Harriet and Carolyn and Imani Rashid, we also learned about her deteriorating condition every time we asked her chosen sisters how she was doing. Which means I have never said in person what must be said:

Thank you Candice for living your purpose. Thank you Candice for creating a record. Thank you Candice, for your legible legacy and for teaching us what it means to live, forever.


Alexis Pauline Gumbs for Julia Roxanne Wallace and the MobileHomeComing Project

For Each Other: the Salsa Soul Sisters from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

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