LGBT activists will unveil a rainbow flag outside the historic gay bar Stonewall Inn on Wednesday, marking the 30th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The Greenwich Village bar at 53 Christopher Street is often credited with launching the gay rights movement after multiple violent police raids in the summer of 1969. President Barack Obama designated Stonewall as a national monument last year, the first National Park Service unit dedicated to the gay rights movement (h/t DNA info). Stonewall’s rainbow flag will be the first permanent LGBT pride flag in New York City.
Forty-eight years ago, just after 1:00am on June 28th, police raided Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, the well-known gay bar on Christopher Street. Unlike past raids against gay bars, the crowd outside fought back, throwing bottles at the cops and protesting around the site for the next six days. According to the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, the event is “generally credited as the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement,” sparking “the next major phase of the gay liberation movement, which involved more radical political action and assertiveness during the 1970s.” But as they also note in an earlier interview with 6sqft, the struggle for LGBT rights existed long before Stonewall.
Join the Project’s co-director Ken Lustbader and project manager Amanda Davis in this video tour of historic sites around the neighborhood that play an equally important role in LGBT history and advocacy in NYC and beyond.
“Where did lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history happen in New York City? In what buildings did influential LGBT activists and artists live and work, and on what streets did groups demonstrate for their equal rights?” These are the questions that the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is answering through a first-of-its-kind initiative to document historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBT community in the five boroughs. Through a map-based online archive, based on 25 years of research of advocacy, the group hopes to make “invisible history visible” by exploring sites related to everything from theater and art to social activism and health.
To mark Pride Month, 6sqft recently talked with the Historic Sites Project’s directors–architectural historian and preservation professor at Columbia Andrew S. Dolkart; historic preservation consultant Ken Lustbader; and former senior historian at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Jay Shockley–along with their project manager, preservationist Amanda Davis, about the roots of the initiative, LGBT history in NYC, and the future of gay advocacy.
Last June, President Obama formally recognized Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn and its surrounding area as a national historic monument, creating the first National Park Service unit dedicated to the gay rights movement. To expand the reach of this monument, Senator Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday a $1 million grant from Google to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to begin a project preserving the oral histories and human experiences from early LGBTQ leaders present during the Stonewall Inn riots. According to the New York Times, the initiative will create an educational curriculum for students and a digital platform that’s expected to launch by the 50th anniversary of the protests in 2019.
To broaden people’s knowledge of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s history in New York City, the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project created a map-based online archive to document significant sites throughout the five boroughs. Although earlier maps highlighting LGBT history have been created, they focused solely on the history of Greenwich Village, the hub of gay activism. But the new interactive map, based on 25 years of research and advocacy, hopes to make “invisible history visible” by exploring sites across the city related to everything from theater and architecture to social activism and health.