Kiyoshi Kuromiya papers on HIV/AIDS research and organizations
Held at: John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center [Contact Us]1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Kiyoshi Kuromiya (1943-2000) was a Philadelphia-based activist who worked to better the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. He created the Critical Path AIDS Project to provide free internet access and information on HIV/AIDS treatment.
Kuromiya was born in 1943 in a Japanese-American internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. After World War II, his family returned to Monrovia, California. Kiyoshi Kuromiya moved to Philadelphia in 1961 to study architecture under Louis I. Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania and remained in Philadelphia for most of his adult life.
Kuromiya engaged in a life-long struggle for human rights as a civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, and homosexual rights activist.
While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Kuromiya was active in civil rights demonstrations. He protested restaurants refusing to serve African Americans by participating in sit-ins in Maryland along Route 40 in the early 1960s. He spent time in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama in the mid-1960s, where he worked with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Kuromiya was hospitalized in 1965 with head injuries sustained while leading a voter registration protest in Alabama.
Kuromiya was an early participant in the burgeoning LGBT rights movement of the late 1960s. He participated in one of the first national homosexual rights demonstrations, held at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in 1965. He was a founder of the Gay Liberation Front and spoke on homosexual rights before the Black Panther Party's Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention in 1970.
Also involved with the anti-Vietnam War movement, Kuromiya protested at the Pentagon Building in 1967, demonstrated at the Democratic Convention in Chicago 1970, and was arrested in Washington, DC in 1972 for anti-war protesting.
In 1977 Kuromiya was hospitalized with metastatic lung cancer. During his hospitalization and recovery, Kuromiya discovered the work of R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), the American author, designer, inventor, futurist, systems theorist, and architect known for popularizing the geodesic dome structure. Fuller was living in Philadelphia at the time. Kuromiya began working with him and is credited as "adjuvant" on four of Fuller's books: Critical Path, Grunch of Giants, Inventions, and Cosmography.
Kuromiya was diagnosed with AIDS and began doing full-time AIDS work in the late 1980s. In 1988/1989 he founded the Critical Path AIDS Project, which applied ideas and strategies from Buckminster Fuller's 1981 book to the AIDS crisis. The project began as a newsletter about AIDS treatment that Kuromiya researched, wrote, edited, and distributed himself. The Critical Path AIDS Project grew to offer a 24-hour AIDS treatment hotline, a web hosting service for AIDS-related websites and listservs, and computer access for individuals in the Philadelphia area.
Kuromiya was a founding member of the ACT UP/Philadelphia (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and the first paid employee of We The People, a large, minority-run coalition organization for Persons With AIDS (PWAs). He served on many community and scientific advisory boards for HIV/AIDS research and programs, including the national AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), Levine Panel of the Office of AIDS Research, the National Minority AIDS Council, and the RAND Corporation. He presented at numerous conferences and taught numerous programs about HIV/AIDS.
Among many other accolades, Kuromiya was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award from Philadelphia Gay News in 1995, Civil Liberties Award from the Pennsylvania ACLU in 1996, and Ryan White CARE Act Award for 1995 from the Human Resources Services Administration.
Kuromiya was a plaintiff in a successful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenge of the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in 1996. In that case, Kuromiya argued that the safer sex information provided by Kuromiya on the Internet to teenagers was, although sexually explicit, important for their health.
Kuromiya was an advocate for the medical use of marijuana, especially for persons with AIDS wasting syndrome and chemotherapy treatment for cancer. He was a lead litigant in a 1999 class action challenge of United States laws on the therapeutic use of cannabis (Kuromiya et al. vs. United States).
Kuromiya passed away in 2000 from complications of AIDS. The Critical Path Project still exists as of 2014 as a program of Philadelphia FIGHT (Field Initiating Group for HIV Trials). Since 2002, it has operated as a digital inclusion training and advocacy program that provides free internet access and computer training at public computer centers in low-income neighborhoods across Philadelphia.
Kiyoshi Kuromiya et al. v. United States of America. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania: Civil Action No. 98-3439 MK. Appendix 1: "Kiyoshi Kuromiya - Brief Bio."
Kiyoshi Kuromiya Memorial Community. "Kiyoshi Kuromiya." Accessed December 6, 2013. http://www.critpath.org/kiyoshi/kiyoshi.php.
Martin, Douglas. "Kiyoshi Kuromiya, 57, Fighter For the Rights of AIDS Patients." New York Times, May 28, 2000. Accessed December 6, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/28/us/kiyoshi-kuromiya-57-fighter-for-the-rights-of-aids-patients.html
This collection consists of information gathered by Kiyoshi Kuromiya about topics and organizations relating to HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus infection / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), records of Kuromiya's HIV education project "Critical Path AIDS Project," and some personal papers. Because Kuromiya both participated in numerous HIV/AIDS organizations and was active in gathering treatment information for his educational project, Critical Path, this collection provides an excellent overview of the landscape of HIV/AIDS research and activism in the 1990s. The focus is on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but the national and international impact of the HIV epidemic is also addressed. The collection is organized into five series: "I. Data files," "II. Subject files," "III. Critical Path AIDS Project records," "IV. Personal papers," and "V. Anna Forbes records of the Working Group on HealthChoices and HIV."
The first series, "I. Data files," comprises about half of the collection, and is maintained in the rough alphabetical order established by Kuromiya. Note that there are gaps in the arrangement because several sections from Kuromiya's original files were never received by the Archives. This series contains materials on various HIV/AIDS-related topics, such as treatments, opportunistic infections, advocacy groups, health research organizations, and conferences. There are also files on general topics of interest to persons with AIDS and some files on individual people. The materials are mostly newspaper clippings, scientific/academic articles, and health reports. There are also large quantities of flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, and conference materials for particular organizations. Some personal correspondence is scattered throughout.
The second series, "II. Subject files," is organized into six sub-series: "A. State and local HIV/AIDS programs," "B. Conferences," "C. HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS)," "D. Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA)," "E. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) Philadelphia," and "F. Miscellaneous subjects." Subseries "A. State and local HIV/AIDS programs" consists of meeting minutes, memoranda and correspondence, administrative documents, records, reports, and information about HIV planning and treatment programs for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Well-represented are The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium (TPAC), Philadelphia Eligible Metropolitan Area HIV Commission (Philadelphia EMA HIV Commission), and Pennsylvania AIDS Education and Training Center (PA AIDS ETC). There may be overlap between this subseries and "III. Critical Path AIDS Project records: D. Grants" in the area of the Ryan White CARE Act. Subseries "B. Conferences" includes materials relating to local, national, and international conferences on HIV/AIDS research, pharmaceuticals and treatments, and affected populations. Most of the conferences, meetings, and forums represented are events that Kuromiya attended; he presented at some of them. The files are in alphabetical order, usually by conference name, and include conference programs, presentation outlines/hand-outs, and correspondence about attending. The next subseries, "C. HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS)," includes materials about the planning and execution of the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS). HCSUS was the first major research effort to collect information on a nationally representative sample of people in care for HIV infection, conducted from 1994-2000 by a consortium of private and government institutions centered at RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development, a private nonprofit research institution). Kuromiya was a contributing author, and this subseries includes correspondence with RAND and other contributing authors, drafts, and related materials. Subseries "D. Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA)," includes meeting minutes, conference programs, drafts of studies, reports, correspondence, and other materials related to Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA). The CPCRA was formed in 1989 as a clinical trials program that conducted research in primary care settings through a national network of community-based clinical units, including a Philadelphia unit. Kuromiya was a member of the CPCRA Community Constituency Group (CCG), Science Planning Committee, and HIV Therapies Core Group. Subseries "E. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) Philadelphia" includes flyers, clippings, press releases, and other documents relating to the Philadelphia branch of the direct action advocacy group that aims to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment, and policies to end the AIDS epidemic. The final subseries in the Subject files series, "F. Miscellaneous subjects," includes files with HIV resources - directories, guidelines, and resource guides, - clippings, scientific articles, and various other materials by or about HIV/AIDS organizations.
The third series, "III. Critical Path AIDS Project records," is organized into four subseries: "A. 'Critical Path' newsletter," "B. Office files," "C. Invoices," and "D. Grants." Subseries "A. 'Critical Path' newsletter" relates to one of the earliest (founded in 1989) and most comprehensive sources of HIV treatment information, which was routinely mailed to thousands of people living with HIV. The subseries consists of production-related materials such as drafts, illustrations, and layouts, as well as printed copies of the Critical Path AIDS Project newsletter. Subseries "B. Office files," is primarily composed of financial records with some administrative documents from the Critical Path AIDS Project. There are budgets, bills and invoices, and materials relating to office costs, as well as employment applications, mailing lists, usage statistics, and other administrative documents. Most of the invoices and some receipts, however, are filed separately in reverse chronological order in subseries "C. Invoices." The final subseries in the third series, "D. Grants," consists of information about various grants for HIV/AIDS organizations, which Kuromiya considered for Critical Path AIDS Project or other organizations with which he was involved. The subseries includes grant information, requests for proposals, and applications by Kuromiya. The largest quantity of materials in this subseries relates to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act (Ryan White CARE Act), the largest federally funded program in the United States for people living with HIV/AIDS, enacted by United States Congress in 1990. Title I provided funds to eligible metropolitan areas and Title II funded states for base grants and AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). There may be overlap between this subseries and "II. Subject files: B. State and local HIV/AIDS programs" in the area of the Ryan White CARE Act.
The fourth series, "IV. Personal papers," is organized into five subseries: "A. Personal," "B. Travel," "C. Buckminster Fuller," "D. Legal files," and "E. Audiovisual materials and objects." Subseries "A. Personal" includes some of Kuromiya's personal financial and health records, a large quantity of restaurant review clippings, and various other papers of a personal nature. Of special interest is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file's on Kuromiya, obtained by the William Way Center through a Freedom of Information Act request in the 2010s. Subseries "B. Travel" includes pamphlets and research on hotels, airlines, and travel services, as well as some receipts, tickets, and other papers. Subseries "C. Buckminster Fuller" includes clippings about Kuromiya's mentor Buckminster Fuller, correspondence and inquiries about Cosmography (a book by Fuller for which Kuromiya served as "adjuvant"), and pamphlets from the Buckminster Fuller Institute. Subseries "D. Legal files" is comprised of court documents relating to two cases Kuromiya participated in. In 1996, he testified in the successful lawsuit against the Communications Decency Act, case No. 96-511 in the Supreme Court of the United States (October term, 1996): Janet Reno, et al. v. American Civil Liberties Union, et al. He was the leading plaintiff in a case calling for the legalization of marijuana for medical uses, No. 98-3439 MK in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, et al., v. The United States of America. Subseries "E. Audiovisual materials and objects" includes about one dozen color slides from a drug study presentation, several floppy disks, four plaques and certificates, numerous photographs. Most of the photographs are from the IX International Conference on AIDS (Berlin, Germany: 1993 June 7-11) and X International Conference on AIDS (Yokohama, Japan: 1994 August). Photographs depict conference speakers/events, conference events and marches, and sightseeing Kuromiya undertook on his journeys to and from the conferences. There are also some additional photographs, notably from a pilgrimage Kuromiya took with his mother to the Japanese internment camp in Wyoming where he was born, Heart Mountain Relocation Center Memorial (circa 1995).
Lastly, the final series in this collection is "V. Anna Forbes records of the Working Group on HealthChoices and HIV." The precise relationship between Anna Forbes and Kuromiya is unclear, although both were AIDS activists in Philadelphia. Forbes was an employee of the Working Group on HealthChoices and HIV, a coalition of forty-five service provider and advocacy organizations that addressed problems that people living with HIV/AIDS had with Southeastern Pennsylvania's Medicaid managed care plan, HealthChoices. Critical Path AIDS Project was one of the member organizations of the Working Group. Forbes' records include minutes, correspondence, mailing lists, clippings, printed information, and other records of the Working Group. Kuromiya also maintained a separate file on the Working Group, which is included at the end of this series.
The collection is organized into five series: "I. Data files," "II. Subject files," "III. Critical Path AIDS Project records," "IV. Personal papers," and "V. Anna Forbes records of the Working Group on HealthChoices and HIV." Series II, III, and IV are further organized into subseries, as outlined below.
I. Data files
II. Subject files
- A. State and local HIV/AIDS programs
- B. Conferences
- C. HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS)
- D. Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA)
- E. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) Philadelphia
- F. Miscellaneous subjects
III. Critical Path AIDS Project records
- A. 'Critical Path' newsletter
- B. Office files
- C. Invoices
- D. Grants
IV. Personal papers
- A. Personal
- B. Travel
- C. Buckminster Fuller
- D. Legal files
- E. Audiovisual materials and objects
V. Anna Forbes records of the Working Group on HealthChoices and HIV
This collection was processed in 2013 by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR). The HCI-PSAR project was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This collection was processed utilizing "More Product, Less Process" time- and cost-saving strategies. Processors did not extensively review the content of the collections, relied on folder titles as provided by Kuromiya, and did not replace acidic folders.
- AIDS (Disease)
- AIDS (Disease) -- Alternative treatment
- AIDS (Disease) -- Patients
- AIDS activists
- Gay activists
- Gay men
- HIV infections
- Marijuana--Therapeutic use
- Minority gays
- John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Some files contain sensitive personal information and are restricted. Contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.
Photographs depict conference speakers, conference events and marches, and sightseeing in the region before and after the conference.
Photographs depict Yokohama Harbor from conference site (Landmark Tower), OCCUR opening march on conference, opening ceremonies, ACT UP press conference, Committee of 10,000 press conference, toro nagashi memorial ceremony, Aldyn McKean political funeral, and visit to Hokone National Park with Greg Haas, Carlton Hogan, and Mateas[?].