Lesson Plan: BiPOC Religion and AIDS Activism

This lesson plan is part of the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network's
Teaching Resources for BiPOC Religion and AIDS Activism.

BIPOC Queer Religious Responses During the Height of HIV/AIDS in the United States

Essential Question

Are Black church/Black activists among the forgotten leaders of the fight against HIV?

Lesson Overview

This lesson focuses on the intersection of race, religion and sexuality within Black
communities at the height of the AIDS crisis. The “textbook” version of the fight against
AIDS focuses almost exclusively on the primarily white organization ACT UP. This lesson
presents primary source evidence on Black religious organizations fighting
HIV/AIDS–evidence rarely covered by major media sources. At the end of this lesson,
students should be able to explain why history should or should not include Black religious
organizations when describing the fight against AIDS.

After the teacher presents the historical context for AIDS, students will analyze primary
sources to assess how Black clerical and lay leaders of various religious traditions
addressed the sexually stigmatized AIDS epidemic particularly in poor communities of

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will have a complex understanding of how Black religious institutions
    responded and failed to respond during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
  2. Students will assess media coverage for bias in portraying or failing to portray the
    activism within the Black community.
  3. Students will have a more sophisticated understanding of how history documenting,
    preserving, and telling can marginalize groups.


Lesson Plan