Throughout this semester I have been conducting research on the NAMES AIDS Project Quilt. The NAMES Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for HIV/AIDS. The organization is also the caretaker of the AIDS Quilt. The Quilt is meant to memorialize people all over the world who have died of AIDS. Each person being memorialized has a “panel” dedicated to them, a 3-by-6 foot section created by their loved ones. A panel is usually decorated in a way that describes the deceased. A group of eight panels are sewn together to make a “block” which resembles a Quilt. I chose to focus on two panels from the Quilt, dedicated to Ray Cude and Ray Underwood. Besides sharing the same first name, these panels have some similarities and differences. Both Cude and
Underwood were artists, Cude a musician and Underwood a poet/lyricist/actor. The panels themselves are different visually. Cude’s panel was designed by friends and family, whereas Underwood’s panel looks like it could have been designed by a professional.
I was initially attracted to these panels because of their interesting visual designs. Cude’s panel is split into two sections, an upper and lower half. I wanted to have find out the reason for this; most panels are one unified piece, but Cude’s is obviously split into two halves. This became a research question that helped guide my writings. Cude’s panel also features in large print the phrase, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” This phrase seemed to be important to the panel and to Cude’s life. In my research I looked for the history and origin of this phrase. This helped me describe the type of person Cude would have been. Also, included with Cude’s panel is a letter written by one of the creators of the panel (probably Cude’s sister) to a volunteer at the NAMES Project Foundation. This letter spoke about the importance of activism in spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS. This helped me bring my research in the direction of political activism associated with AIDS. Underwood’s panel is also visually striking.
Underwood’s panel looks as if it was designed be a professional artist. There is a large image that depicts a beautiful scenery of the sun shining down on a mountain top. The panel immediately captures the attention of the viewer. There is several poems written by Underwood in the lower section of the panel. There is a letter included with the panel that describes Underwood’s life. The letter mentions the Underwood was an actor and a poet. This was a topic of research that helped me describe Cude’s life. Also included in the panel is a set of lyrics, written by Underwood, which were included in the main theme from Paramount Pictures’s “Almost an Angel.” This also became a point of research, which would help me further develop my narrative.
Overall, there is a lot of information in these two panels. I was able to find a variety of sources which expanded my knowledge of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the two people to which these panels are dedicated and the impact of the disease on the world. In order to create a clear, convincing, and credible narrative I needed to learn to evaluate the large number of sources available to me and use the ones that best support my claim. Below I have included a number of sources that I used in my writings to help support my claim.
Altman, Dennis. “Globalization, political economy, and HIV/AIDS.” Melbourne: La Trobe University Press, 1999.
This source is an essay written by Australian academic and gay rights activist Dennis Altman on the history and spread of HIV/AIDS around the world. Altman used scientific studies on the globalization of AIDS to support his claim that a new approach to stopping the pandemic needed to be taken. The purpose of the essay is to convince the reader that the HIV/AIDS pandemic was a global crisis and needed to be addressed. The intended audience is other academics in the field of global politics or people interested in the impact of AIDS on the world. This essay would be useful for people interested in the global political climate of HIV/AIDS or for people looking for a new approach to recognizing the pandemic.
This source connected with the panel I was researching because it addressed the pandemic of AIDS in the world. The AIDS Quilt now includes panels from around the globe, recognizing the crisis of AIDS around the globe. Altman’s essay uses the AIDS crisis as a case study of globalization. Different countries’s responses to the crisis were influenced by how they viewed the disease. For example, “… in explaining the different rates of infection in various countries, some will stress patterns of sexual behavior, while others stress the importance of mobility and migration (Altman).” Overall, I was able to use Altman’s article to gain a better understanding of the global conception of AIDS and its influences.
Gerbert, Barbara;Bleecker, Thomas. “AIDS in the Public Eye: Is the Epidemic Viewed as a Crisis?” Journal of Community Health. Vol. 18, No. 6, Dec 1993, pg. 335-346.
This source, written by Barbara Gilbert and Thomas Bleeker for the December 1993 edition of the Journal of Community Health, examines the public opinion of the AIDS epidemic. Gilbert and Bleeker used telephone interviews with a wide demographic to collect evidence of public opinion on the AIDS epidemic. The purpose of the article is to keep the AIDS epidemic on the political agenda. The intended audience of the article is people who want to know more about what other people think about the epidemic. Political scientists that are interested in the politics of the AIDS epidemic may find this article useful.
This source connects to my panels because social activism and the politics of the AIDS epidemic is part of the purpose of the AIDS Quilt. Aside from memorializing the many people who have died of AIDS, the AIDS Quilt symbolizes the need to recognize the disease as an epidemic and the need to find a cure. This article showed that the majority of the public recognized the disease an epidemic, yet the political importance has decreased. The article warns against the public becoming complacent. The creators of the panels of the AIDS Quilt took social action to prevent the epidemic from falling out of the public eye.
Grace. “Homophobia, Hysteria & the AIDS Epidemic.” Matrix: Olympia’s Feminist/ Lesbian Magazine. Vol. 5, No. 1, July 1983, p. 12-15.
This source, written by Grace for the July 1983 edition of the Matrix: Olympia’s Feminist/ Lesbian Magazine, is a journal entry that argues the AIDS epidemic is not receiving the proper attention it deserves in order to find a cure and that the media is wrongly using the disease as a way to spread homophobic messages. Graces uses statistics and research from medical practitioners to support her claim. Being written relatively early in the AIDS epidemic (1983), the article’s purpose is to bring the AIDS epidemic to the public eye and force it to be seen as a crisis that needs a cure. The purpose of the article is too express a new opinion of the AIDS epidemic to the public, one that was radically different from the majority opinion. Social activists in the gay community would find this article very useful.
This article connects to my panels because it is written as piece of social activism on the AIDS epidemic. Grace confronts the anti-gay messages associated with the AIDS epidemic. Although I do not know for sure, Ray Underwood was possibly gay, but feared discrimination, so he kept that part of his life hidden. In her article, Grace mentioned the fact that many gays hid their homosexuality for fear of being discriminated against or associated with AIDS. This could apply to Underwood, but this is only speculation (which arose from fans of the actor).
Jarre, Maurice; Underwood, Ray. “Some Wings.” Performed by Vanessa Williams. Youtube. 15 January 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39Ru74VHVn4. Accessed 28 March 2018.
This source is a song, with music composed by Maurice Jarre and lyrics written by Ray Underwood, recorded for the 1990 Paramount Pictures film “Almost an Angel.” The lyrics of the song depict everyday people as being heroes and the music is lush and inspiring while the movie is comedic and lighthearted. The purpose of the song was to add comedic effect during the credits of the movie, which is when the song is heard, by juxtaposing inspirational music with the comedic film. The intended audience is people who enjoy lighthearted, comedic films. The only real use for this song would be exactly what it was intended for, to accompany the closing credits of a mediocre 1990s comedy-drama.
This song connects with Ray Underwood’s panel because its lyrics were written by Underwood. The lyrics appear in cursive writing in the center of his panel. The lyrics to this song, along with other poems Underwood has written, appear throughout the panel. The visual elements of the panel depict beautiful aspects nature, such as the sun shining down on a mountaintop and a lake in a green valley. The poems in the panel are inspirational and romantic, seeming to add to the beautiful, romantic scenes depicted in the panel.
Lateef, Yasir. “The NAMES Project Foundation.” The Names Project, www.aidsquilt.org/about/the-names-project-foundation. Accessed 15 February 2018.
This source is a page from The NAMES Project Foundation’s official website “About” page, stating the non-profit organization’s mission is “To preserve, care for, and use the AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, heighten awareness, and inspire action in the struggle against HIV and AIDS (The NAMES Project Foundation).” The page details the founding of the organization by Cleve Jones and his conception of The Quilt in 1985, as well as describing the creation of a panel, and displays of The Quilt around the world. The page’s purpose is to inform people of the creation and goals of The NAMES Project Foundation. Reader’s of this page are interested in The NAMES Project Foundation and The Quilt itself, wanting to learn more about the organization’s history and why it was formed. People who read this page, like myself, may use the information in a research project about the organization or may be wanting to create a panel to memorialize a loved one.
This source is directly related to the panel of The Quilt I am researching because it describes the organization that is responsible for storing and maintaining The Quilt. This source helped me understand why The Quilt was created and how it has impacted many peoples’s lives. I also learned why a quilt, specifically, was chosen to be the memorial. Cleve Jones led a march in San Francisco in 1985 to memorialize people affected by AIDS, which culminated with the posting of names on the Federal Building. To Jones, this looked like a patchwork quilt, thus the conception of The Quilt was born.
Nicholas, S. W.; Abrams, E. J. . “Boarder babies with AIDS in harlem: Lessons in applied public health.” American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 92, No. 2, February 2002.
This source, written by Nicholas and Abrams for the February 2002 issue of American Journal of Public Health, is an article that describes the issue of “boarder babies with AIDS,” which are newborn babies of AIDS-infected woman. These babies have been orphaned or taken away from their parents for drug-abuse issues. Harlem Hospital Center began caring for the babies because they had nowhere else to go. Nicholas and Abrams both worked at this hospital, so they used observations and statistics to support their claim that something more must be done for the babies. The purpose of the article is to bring attention to the problem of babies born with AIDS. The intended audience is other people in the medical field, or people who have the ability to make large changes in the community, such as government officials. Social activists may find this article useful.
This source connects with my panels because it touches on social activism on the AIDS issue. The article also shows that not all cases of AIDS are rooted in homosexual activity or drug abuse. The article forces its audience to view the AIDS epidemic as a public health crisis, not just a problem within a small demographic of society. AIDS was destroying many lives around the world, on the scale of the black plague. The articles argues that there was more that could to be done to help those being affected by the disease.
Reed, Lewis. “Halloween Parade.” Lou Reed. Youtube. 29 October 2015. Accessed 17 February 2018.
This source is a live performance of a song, written by Lewis Reed (AKA Lou Reed), dedicated to people who have died of AIDS. Before he begins the song, Reed says “This next song is about a parade we have in Greenwich Village in NY, where a lot of people are dying of AIDS. So this is a song about AIDS called ‘Halloween Parade.’ (Reed)” The purpose of this song is to remember people who have died of AIDS and to raise awareness of the seriousness of the epidemic. The intended audience is people who have been affected by AIDS or people who may not know a lot about AIDS. Listeners of this song could use this song to spread awareness of the AIDS epidemic or even for political purposes, such as providing healthcare options for the treatment of the disease.
I included this song as the final piece of my Primary Source Description on Ray Cude’s panel. Cude was a musician, playing in a number of local bands for 25 years. He also died, too soon, of AIDS. Ray is memorialized on The AIDS Quilt similarly to how Reed memorializes characters in this song. It seemed fitting to include a song memorializing people who have died of AIDS in my project about a quilt that memorializes people who died of AIDS.
Royles, Dan. “AIDS and AIDS Activism.” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/aids-and-aids-activism/. Accessed 16 February 2018.
This source is an essay written by Dan Royles on the history of AIDS and social activism in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Royles begins the essay with a description of the rapidly increasing rate of AIDS cases, much of which were in environments with a large number of intravenous drug-users. He then goes on to describe social activist groups, such as ACT UP, and their political role in the AIDS epidemic. Royle’s purpose for the essay is to inform people of Philadelphia’s history of AIDS and its role in the political movement to recognize the disease as a public health crisis. The intended audience is people who are interested in, specifically, Philadelphia’s history of AIDS or people who may not know much about the disease. Readers could use this as a source in a research project on the history of AIDS or for raising awareness of the still-threatening disease today.
Although Ray Cude is not from Philadelphia (he lived in California), social activism on the AIDS epidemic is relevant to Cude. A loved one of Cude sent a letter to The NAMES Project Foundation which mentioned the public’s “ignorance” of the disease (Soto). This suggests that Cude may have engaged in social activism on the awareness of AIDS. Whether or not Cude was an activist, social activism is a large piece of the history of the AIDS epidemic as a whole.
Smit, Colette, et al. “Declining AIDS Mortality in Amsterdam: Contributions of Declining HIV Incidence and Effective Therapy.” Epidemiology, vol. 15, no. 5, 2004, pp. 536–542.
This source, written by Smit and others for the September 2004 issue of Epidemiology, describes the possible reasons for the decline in HIV incidence in Amsterdam, such as advancement in medicine and therapy. The article uses scientific studies to support its explanation. The purpose of the article is to explain the decline of AIDS cases in Amsterdam. The intended audience is other social scientists interested in the AIDS epidemic. People who are associated with people who have AIDS or have AIDS themselves would find this article useful.
This article connects to my panels because it describes ways that AIDS is being treated. This article is from 2004, about a decade after the subjects of my panels passed away. The article said that most AIDS patients lived about eleven years after their time of diagnosis, which means Underwood and Cude were diagnosed by the early 1980s. At this time, according to the article, the treatment options were limited. Underwood and Cude did not have access to the better treatments for the disease that became available in later years. These treatments likely would have greatly improved the final years of their life, if not extending it.
Soto, Louise. Letter to Cynthia.
This source is a letter written by Louise Soto, a family member or friend of Ray Cude’s, and addressed to Cynthia (Last name is unknown). The letter thanked Cynthia for her hard work and effort to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. Soto’s main purpose was to show appreciation of the recipient and also show her support of the activist movement for HIV/AIDS. The intended audience was Cynthia (most likely a worker at The NAMES Project Foundation) and possibly others at The NAMES Project Foundation. The reader was probably encouraged to continue their work as an activist in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS.
I included this source in my Primary Source Description on Ray Cude’s panel because it is directly related to his panel. This letter was stored at The NAMES Project Foundation’s headquarters in Atlanta along with Cude’s panel. Louise Soto is one of several family members/friends listed on Cude’s panel. Her name is included twice on the panel, one of which is printed in large bold letters with a pearl necklace sewn around her name. She was evidently important to Cude, probably his sister. Her letter includes her support of activism on the awareness of AIDS, which suggests Cude’s support as well.
Spieldenner, A. R. (2014). “Statement of Ownership: An Autoethnography of Living with HIV.” Journal of Men’s Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1, 27 December 2014, pg. 12-27.
This source, written by A.R. Spieldenner for the 27 December 2014 issue of Journal of Men’s Studies, is an autoethnography about Spieldenner’s life with AIDS. Spieldhenner uses daily notes from a journal that he has kept to describe his life with HIV and he also references other scientist’s research on the disease. The purpose of the article is not necessarily to make a political statement on AIDS, but is to simply describe the life of an average person living with AIDS. Spieldenner’s intended audience is people interested in learning about people who have AIDS or people who do have AIDS and need support. Doctors in the mental health field may find this article useful.
This article directly relates to my panels because they are dedicated to people to people who lived with HIV. Although the panels do contain information about their subjects, they do not communicate the communicate their daily lives with AIDS. This article gives me a view of someone’s life with HIV/AIDS and how they dealt with it. The article describes the struggles that come with AIDS, physical and mental, which I am sure the subjects of my panels experienced. This article helps me appreciate more what these individuals endured, which helps me write a more effective narrative of their lives.
“To Thine Own Self Be True.” Literary Devices, literarydevices.net/to-thine-own-self-be-true/. Accessed on 15 February 2018.
This source is a page from a website that helps readers understand different literacy devices that authors may employ; in this case the page explains what is meant by the phrase “To thine own self be true. (Shakespeare).” The page points out that this phrase is a quote from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and gives the likely meaning of the phrase in the play and the connotation of the phrase in today’s world. The purpose of the page is to inform people of the meaning of the phrase. The intended audience is people who want to know the origin of the phrase and what it really means. People who read this page may cite it in a research paper on the influence Shakespeare has on today’s world.
I used this source because the phrase “To thine own self be true” is included on Ray Cude’s panel in large print. Understanding the origins and meaning of this phrase would help me to better understand Ray Cude’s character, as depicted by his panel. According to literarydevices.net, the phrase, in today’s connotation, usually means a person should be honest with themselves and determined in their work. This helped with determining Cude’s character.