William Way LGBT Community Center announces two exhibits featuring the history of LGBTQ rights in the United States
Philadelphia, PA, June 14, 2018 — Following the success of its national exhibit “Speaking Out For Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights & the Supreme Court” at the National Constitution Center in 2015, the William Way LGBT Community Center announces two additional exhibits on the same theme.
On June 8, 2018, an exhibit also called “Speaking Out For Equality” opened at the Liberty Bell Center at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Designed as a scaled-down traveling exhibit, it focuses on the symbolic connection between the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall and the Annual Reminder demonstrations held there by gay and lesbian activists every July 4 between 1965 and 1969. The exhibit explores the conditions under which LGBTQ individuals lived in post-war America, considers the mounting protests of a burgeoning LGBTQ rights movement, and leads to the eventful night of June 28, 1969, when patrons of the popular Greenwich Village bar, The Stonewall Inn, fought back against a raid of the premises by police.
The exhibit includes footage from the 1968 documentary film The Second Largest Majority, by pioneering lesbian activist Lilli Vincenz, which documents the July 4, 1968 Reminder Day protest at Independence Hall. Produced at a time when no television stations, networks or film exhibitors would broadcast or screen the film, Vincenz made it available through the US mail, private screenings and independent film festivals.
“Speaking Out for Equality” at the Liberty Bell Center (corner of 6th and Market Streets) will run through Labor Day, after which it will be available for travel to other venues around the United States. This collaborative effort between Independence National Historical Park and the William Way LGBT Community Center was funded through the National Park Service LGBTQ Heritage Initiative.
In addition to the exhibit at the Liberty Bell Center, William Way LGBT Community Center is pleased to announce the launch of an online exhibit “Speaking Out For Equality: Gay Rights and the Courts” (sofe.wilcoxarchives.org). Funded by the generous contributions of the Arcus Foundation, the online exhibit features many of the same documents, artifacts, and images as the 2015 exhibit at the National Constitution Center. Longer in temporal scope than the exhibit at the Liberty Bell Center, the online exhibit goes through the present to include many of the important social issues and court cases which have affected the pursuit of LGBTQ rights in America.
The online exhibit also includes footage of The Second Largest Majority, as well as Vincenz’s documentary of the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in New York City in 1970, Gay and Proud. Today Vincenz’s films are part of the Lilli Vincenz Papers at the Library of Congress, which together with the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, have granted permission for their use in these physical and online exhibits.
The William Way Community Center encourages, supports, and advocates for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities in the Greater Philadelphia region through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming.
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