Event | Special Events Display: Stonewall at 50 - LGBTQ+ Activism in the United States

Date and Location

Part of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov.

A new display at the Library of Congress will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which occurred June 28 to July 1, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City.

The Stonewall uprising has come to represent a turning point in the movement for LGBTQ+ civil rights in the United States. This exhibit provides context to this historical event, with materials representing activism from the time periods before and after. “Before Stonewall” materials will be primarily dated in the 1950s, representing the education-focused homophile movement that preceded the Stonewall uprising. “After Stonewall” materials highlight the more radical gay liberation movement, for which the Stonewall uprising is widely considered to be the catalyst. 

Materials are drawn from the papers of Lilli Vincenz and Franklin Kameny, two early LGBTQ+ rights pioneers. Kameny and Vincenz worked together frequently, both being present at some of the earliest LGBTQ+ protests in United States history. Kameny co-founded the D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society, an early homophile rights organization. Vincenz was one of the first lesbian members of the D.C. branch of the Mattachine Society, going on to become editor of its publication, “The Homosexual Citizen.” In 1969, Vincenz would co-found “The Gay Blade”, known widely today as “The Washington Blade,” which is still widely considered to be the LGBTQ+ newspaper of record.

The first Pride march on June 28, 1970 was a planned protest to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. The Stonewall 50 display includes flyers and ephemera collected by activists at the birth of Pride, also known as Christopher Street Liberation Day 1970. Many of these materials were produced by the very same activists who were picketing the White House and marching in the streets for gay rights. Through these primary sources, one can trace over 50 years of LGBTQ+ activism in the United States.