Dr. Charles Ford Honored as a 2016 OUTstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia

Dr. Charles Ford, author, activist, and Professor of History at Norfolk State University is in many ways the voice of Coastal Virginia’s LGBT community.

Norfolk’s own Dr. Charles Ford has been selected ad on of seven OUTstanding Virginians for 2016 by Equality Virginia. He will be honored at the EV Commonwealth Dinner on April 16 in Richmond.

Norfolk State Professor and a student of the past, Charles Ford puts his selection as OUTstanding Virginian in a geographical and historical context. “Hampton Roads and Norfolk in particular have a surprising history at the forefront of LGBT advocacy in Virginia going back to the 1970s,” he points out.

Charles arrived in Virginia in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, which had hit Norfolk especially hard. He started volunteering in the Tidewater AIDS Crisis Task Force and, at age 29, joined the board, which was soon under Jim Spivey’s leadership. “Board service was not ceremonial then,” Charles recalls; “I found myself doing a lot of different things, including research, fundraising, and public relations.” He served as president in 1997-98 and again in 2003. He would go on to serve as a trustee of the Norfolk Public Library system after February 2013, drawing upon his earlier experience with the oldest AIDS service organization in the area.

Ford is Professor and Coordinator of History at Norfolk State University and a tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights. He and his research partner, Dr. Jeffrey Littlejohn of Sam Houston State University in Texas, have published many pieces on civil rights and public school desegregation in Hampton Roads and beyond. Their latest collaboration is “Images of Modern America: LGBT Hampton Roads.”

Dr. Charles Ford with his new book at Prince Books in Norfolk on April 9, 2016.
Dr. Charles Ford with his new book at Prince Books in Norfolk on April 9, 2016.
In light of the importance of being out to the LGBTQ movement, each year Equality Virginia recognizes leaders who have represented the community with distinction.
OUTstanding Virginians are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals or organizations that are taking the lead in moving equality forward across the commonwealth.