Dr. Herman Lynn Womack
When he died in Boca Raton, Florida in September 1985, Dr. Herman Lynn Womack was nearly forgotten except to experts in first amendment case law and members of the Washington DC activist community, especially the Mattachine Society of Washington whose civil rights work he had supported through the 1960s and early 1970s. In Washington's gay community, Womack was known as 'the professor' and as 'Professor Womack'.
In the course of his career, largely in Washington, DC, H Lynn Womack
- successfully broadened protections against obscenity laws for homosexual publications;
- created a chain of bookstores for gay males, a gay cinema in Washington, a national book club and mail order service;
- supported the Mattachine Society of Washington with printing of the group's publications;
- made major financial contributions and contributions in kind to Dr. Franklin E. Kameny's 1971 campaign for Congress;
- published materials for the campaign against the American Psychiatric Association's classification of homosexuality as an illness; and
- published (briefly in 1970 and 1971) a national gay newspaper, The Gay Forum.
H Lynn Womack, an albino born January 15, 1923 and raised in Hazelhurst, MS, arrived in metropolitan Washington, DC as a transfer student from the University of Mississippi to George Washington University, from which he received a B.A. and an M.A. While a student he worked as a copyboy at the Washington Daily News. He received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins in 1955. During the 1940s, Womack worked as an educator and headmaster of private schools in the area including John Carroll Boys School (Silver Spring, MD), Longfellow School for Boys (Bethesda, MD) and Howell Academy (Rockville and Annapolis). From 1956 to 1959 he taught at George Washington University and from 1960 to 1961 at Mary Washington College.
[Kenneth Hodges' memoir of The Womack School in Bethesda MD is privately distributed and on file at Cornell University's Kroch Library Human Sexuality special collections.]