Marlon Riggs

Marlon Riggs

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Marlon Riggs

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Marlon Troy Riggs (3 February 1957 – 5 April 1994) was a gay African American filmmaker, educator, poet, and gay rights activist. He produced, wrote, and directed several television documentaries, including Ethnic Notions, Tongues Untied, Color Adjustment, and Black Is. . . Black Ain't. Riggs' aesthetically innovative and socially provocative films examine past and present representations of race and sexuality in America.

Early life

Riggs was born in Fort Worth, Texas on February 3, 1957. He was a child of civilian employees of the military and spent a great deal of his childhood traveling. He lived in Texas and Georgia before moving to West Germany at age 11 with his family. Later in his life, Riggs remembered the ostracism and name-calling that he experienced at Hephzibah Junior High School in Hephzibah, Georgia. He stated that black and white students alike called him a “punk," a “faggot,” and “Uncle Tom.” He explains that he felt isolated from everyone at the school: “I was caught between these two worlds where the whites hated me and the blacks disparaged me. It was so painful.”

From 1973 to 1974 Riggs attended Ansbach American High School's opening year in Katterbach, Germany. He was elected student body president at the military dependent's school. In 1974, Riggs returned to the United States to attend college. As an undergraduate, Riggs studied history at Harvard......
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