Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Diana: A strange autobiography" dared to tell the truth

Here is a segment from one of my favorite PBS shows, "The History Detectives" with my personal favorite detective, Tukufu Zuberi.

Every week there is fabulous research in action on this show with wonderful results that bring truth and closure.

This segment begins with Randy Sell of New York City and a book he found at a used book store entitled, "Diana -- a strange autobiography" by Diana Fredericks.

The book was first released in 1939.

When he found the book, Sell was writing a dissertation and was "really interested in books about lesbian, gay, bisexual people."

The 1930's saw multiple restrictions against homosexuality in the United States. It was very difficult for gay men and women to live their lives openly. Hollywood banned depictions of homosexuality in the movies. And gays and lesbians were deviant or tragic characters whose story's either ended sadly or resulted in heterosexual "reform."

This book paints quite a different picture.

A publisher's note says, "This is an autobiography of a woman who tried to be "normal" (quotes mine.) Although she has found it necessary to write under a pseudonym, she has fearlessly told the truth."

Watch as Zuberi reveals Diana Fredericks true identity and sheds more light on the significance of this work:

Watch the full episode. See more History Detectives.

I was unable to find a copy of "Diana" at either the Troy Public Library or The Kresge Library on the Oakland University campus.

I did, however, find the 1995 release mentioned in the story that includes the introduction by Julie Abrams. It is available at for $22.

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