African-American queer icon, activist and dance instructor Angela Bowen died in Long Beach on July 12, reports The New York Times. She was 82, and had been fighting Alzheimer’s.
Bowen was born in Boston. She lost her father at the age of two. She married a man, Ken Peters, in the early 1960s. They had three children and established a dance school for underprivileged youths together. The Bowen/ Peters School of Dance operated until 1982 in New Haven, Connecticut.
After her divorce from Peters, Bowen came out as gay in the 1980s. She became an activist and served on the board of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. She married Jennifer Lynn Abod in 2013.
Bowen earned a master’s and a PhD from Clark University.
In recent years, Bowen was a professor at California State University, Long Beach, where she taught in the English and women’s/gender studies departments.
For more on Bowen’s extraordinary life, check out the award-winning 2016 documentary The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen.
Rest in peace.