Partner George Nettles

Queer Places:
92 Horton Rd, Horton, AL 35980
1839 Fisher Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA

Erby W. Lang (March 13, 1924 - April 13, 1999) was born Blount, Alabama, the son of David H. Lang (1881–1968) and Maudie M. Daniel (1885–1981). He moved to California, and is currently buried together with his partner, George Nettles.

The Atlanta Public Library perversion case refers to a series of arrests made in September 1953 at the Atlanta Public Library. Members of the Atlanta Police Department's vice squad set up a stakeout at the Atlanta Public Library at the request of library officials. The library's restrooms were considered tea rooms in Atlanta's gay community, places where gay men met to have sexual intercourse. On September 4, the police arrested two men for sodomy after witnessing them perform fellatio. In total, 20 men were arrested over the course of 8 days for similar charges. The local newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, both widely covered the incident, and the addresses, names, and places of employment of the 20 men were published: William A. Jones, 48, 631 Main Street, College Park; Raymond H. Redmond, 28, 248 North Avenue, North West Atlanta; J.B. Willcut, 51, 844 East Morningside Drive, North East Atlanta; Marvin W. Hogwood, 26, 862 North Grand Street, North West Atlanta; Lewis H. Hunt, 29, 231 Montgomery Street, Decatur; Bennie Birch, 24, alias Billy Bradley, 872 Hightower Road, North West Atlanta; Weldon C. Fowler, 23, 748 Rosewood Road, Decatur; John H. Wobbe, 33, 3694 Peachtree Road, Atlanta; Jesse D. Hatcher, 29, 421 Collier Ridge Drive, Atlanta; John S. Manous, 45, Canton; David B. Clayton, 31, 3151 Maple Drive, North East Atlanta; Emory P. Smith, 27, 220 Lyle Street, College Park; Erby W. Lang, 29, 1839 Fisher Street, South East Atlanta; Stanley T. Martin, 42, 20 Collier Road, North West Atlanta; Harold Gunter, 19, 998 Juniper Street, North East Atlanta; H.B. Montgomery Jr., 31, 309 Melville Avenue, Decatur; Everett Norton, 30, Lawrenceville; Thomas Long, 18, 178 Copeland Road, North East Atlanta; L. Pittman Davis, 28, 233 14th Street, North East Atlanta; Robert L. Billings, 27, 2595 Ingleside Avenue, Macon. 19 of the men lost their jobs following the incident. Jesse Hatcher, a butcher at an A&P supermarket, was the only one to not loose his job. The name of the incident, The Atlanta Public Library perversion case, was coined by The Atlanta Constitution. Charges against the 20 men were brought before a Fulton County grand jury on September 15. In December, they appeared before the county's superior court, with 18 of them pleading guilty. James MacKay, who would later serve as a Representative from Georgia, spoke on behalf of the accused. The presiding judge, Fulton Superior Court Judge Virlyn B. Moore, accepted the guilty pleas, imposed fines of up to $200, and sentenced them to between 2 and 3 years in prison, though all sentences were eventually suspended or probated. Stanley T. Martin, 42, was the only one to receive a one-year suspended sentence, because he was a husband and father. Martin, who worked as a branch manager for the Internal Revenue Service at the time of the arrest, became a salesman for Vulcan Paper. Raymond H. Redmond, 28, also received a suspended sentence: he had redeemed himself by signing on with the US Army. Thomas Long, 18, was given a two-year probatory sentence, and action in the case of Harold Gunter, 19, was deferred pending further investigation. Robert L. Billings, L. Pittman Davis, John S. Manous, Jesse D. Hatcher, Erby W. Long, H.B. Montgomery Jr., William A. Jones, Emory P. Smith, David B. Clayton, Marvin W. Hogwood, John W. Wobbe, Weldon C. Fowler, and Bennie Birch were all put on probation and fined $120 each.

Pittman Davis was born in the small town of LaGrange, GA, near the state line of Alabama, where his mother still lived. College-educated, he had found a job as a personnel technician with the state government in Atlanta. Robert Billings, with whom Davis was arrested, had parlayed a college education along with seminary training into a ticket out of the rural South. Born in McComb, MS, he had relocated to Atlanta and completed a divinity degree at Emory University. Under pression after the arrest, Billings resigned the appointment he had received just months prior as Director of Youth Work for the Methodist Church’s South Georgia Conference.

As one of the reason for granting probation to Jesse Hatcher, Judge Moore noted that Mary Hatcher, the defendant’s wife, was expecting a child.

William A. Jones, 48, had his own business as a building contractor in 1953; by 1955, he was working as a tile setter with another company.

Louis Harold Hunt, 29, received a $60 fine and was placed on probation for a two-to-three-year period.

Everett Norton, 30, was placed on probation for the two-to-three year period and fined $200.

J.B. Wilcutt, 51, also charged with sodomy failed to appear in court and forfeited his $3.000 bond.

Additionally, all men were barred from ever visiting the Atlanta Public Library again, several were required to leave Atlanta (with several of these men required to live with family members), and many had to report to church officials. Overall, the sentencing was viewed as lenient. This incident occurred during a larger movement within the Federal government targeting homosexual people in government, the lavender scare. At the same time in Atlanta, similar police events occurred in Piedmont Park, and The Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill called for tougher sex crimes legislation.

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