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McKelvey School of Engineering

Masters and Johnson Lecture Series 2022: Let Young People Tell Their Story: From Robert Rayford to the Current Generation

Wednesday, November 16 | 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Brown Hall, Brown Lounge
Brown Hall, St. Louis, MO 63130

Nationally acclaimed HIV organizer and author Theodore (Ted) Kerr and founder and director of St. Louis's Griot Museum of Black History, Lois Conley, will share the largely untold story of Robert Rayford. Rayford was a 16 year-old Black teenager who died in 1969 in St Louis. In 1985, after testing his saved tissues, it was determined he died with HIV, twelve years prior to the biomedical establishment's recognition of the virus. Kerr and Conley will connect Rayford's life and death with ongoing political and cultural conditions that allow for young people to experience sexual health disparities today.

The Masters and Johnson Annual Lecture honors late sex researchers and founders of modern sex therapy, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Masters and Johnson conducted clinical sex research at Washington University from the 1950s through the 1970s. Their clinical observation of sexual behavior enabled them to dispel myths about vaginal orgasm, erectile dysfunction, masturbation, and older adult asexuality.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Brown School


Humanities & Society, Medicine & Health

Office of the Provost
Event Contact

Molly Pearson | mollypearson@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Canadian-born Theodore Kerr is a Brooklyn-based writer, organizer and artist whose work focuses on HIV/AIDS, community, and culture. Kerr's writing has appeared in Women's Studies Quarterly, The New Inquiry, BOMB, CBC (Canada), Lambda Literary, POZ Magazine, The Advocate, Cineaste, The St. Louis American, IndieWire, HyperAllergic, and other publications. In 2016, he won the Best Journalism award from POZ Magazine for his HyperAllergic article on race, HIV, and art. In 2015, Kerr was the editor for an AIDS-focused issue of the We Who Feel Differently journal.

Lois Conley is the visionary who founded The Griot Museum of Black History by employing a grassroots, social entrepreneurial approach. As the Museum’s executive director, for the past 25 years, she has led all administrative, financial, and curatorial functions. She dares to curate themes that challenge the status quo. Her community-facing interpretative style, which combines the aesthetics of art with the details of the humanities, has earned local and national recognition for the Museum.

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