[Disclosure — The following is reprinted from a press release. This newspaper’s editor, Matt Comer, has been among several community members planning the community-initiated celebration of Don King’s life.]
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A celebration of life will be held for early Charlotte LGBT community leader Don King on Nov. 23, 3-5 p.m., at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 721 N. Tryon St. Community members are invited to remember King, who starting in the 1970s became one of the earliest and most outspoken LGBT community leaders in the Queen City.
The special community-initiated celebration will include a sharing of memories of King by several speakers who were colleagues with him at The Charlotte Observer and those who worked with him in LGBT causes. Music will be offered by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte’s small ensemble, 7th Son. A second celebration will follow in April.
King died on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 at the age of 72. He moved to Charlotte in the 1970s and helped to begin several early LGBT social and support organizations. In 1981, he co-founded a community fundraising group which gave birth to QNotes, an LGBT community newspaper where King worked as its first editor in 1986 and 1987. In the late 1980s King spearheaded efforts to challenge the harassment and entrapment of gay men by local law enforcement. King continued his involvement throughout the rest of his life, often serving as a community mentor, advisor and historian.