Ten years ago, the New York Times reported on a growing underground subculture in the black community known as Down Low, comprised largely of men who secretly engage in homosexual activity while living “straight” lives in public.
It’s within that subtext that opposition researchers for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign began investigating rumors that Rev. Jeremiah Wright was running a “matchmaking service” for members of his Trinity United Church of Christ known as the Down Low Club, which included Barack Obama.
Over the past several months, WND investigators have interviewed a number of members of the church who claim the president benefited from Wright’s efforts to help black men who engage in homosexual activity appear respectable in black society by finding them a wife.
The 2003 New York Times story, “Double Lives on the Down Low,” said that though many black men reject “a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate,” they “have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low.”
The Times said that while “there are black men who are openly gay, it seems that the majority of those having sex with men still lead secret lives, products of a black culture that deems masculinity and fatherhood as a black man’s primary responsibility – and homosexuality as a white man’s perversion.”
The Down Low Club at Trinity “doesn’t have meetings, and it isn’t like the Rotary Club,” a source identified for this article as “Carolyn” explained to a WND investigator in Chicago.
“It was more that Wright served as a matchmaker,” said Carolyn, a 20-year member of Trinity who has played a role in church administration and knows the Obamas personally.
“He kept his eye on the young guys coming up in Trinity,” she said, “and if he spotted someone that acted or looked gay, then Wright would give them kind of a guidance counselor-type direction on how to keep down low – how to do the things they wanted to do, but then also getting married and looking ‘respectable’ – being part of black society.”
To Trinity insiders, the Down Low Club was simply known as “the program.”