by Dan Royles
I am sad to report that Curtis Wadlington, a longtime human services specialist and AIDS activist, passed away on August 9th. I was lucky enough to interview Curtis a few months before he passed, and he was extremely generous with his time and memories, letting me scan a slew of personal documents related to his work on AIDS education with Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues (BEBASHI) and the Philadelphia school system. During our interview, he made it clear that his Baptist faith compelled him to devote his energy and talents to helping disadvantaged people reduce their risk for contracting HIV, and to give comfort to those living with and dying from AIDS.
I feel extraordinarily lucky to have met Curtis before he passed, and to be able to add his story to this project. There is an urgency that goes along with oral history, a need to capture voices before they are gone, that goes double for this project. In the future, Curtis’ words will be available at the Urban Archives of Temple University to anyone who wants to study his work, or simply be inspired by his example, and that meant a great deal to him. David Fair, another interviewee, has generously shared his eulogy from Curtis’ funeral, which I’ve posted at the African American AIDS History Project. Philly.com and the Examiner have also posted obituaries detailing Curtis’ lifetime of advocacy and activism. Rest in peace, Curtis. You are already missed.