First March for Gay Rights, 48 years ago Today:: VIDEO

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One year after police raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, the first March for Gay rights took place on this day in 1970.

Decades before they became known as “Gay Pride Parades,” this was a protest MARCH for civil rights and equality, a message that seems to have gotten lost in all of the corporate messaging and branding in recent years.  In fact it was called “Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day.”

Two men (Jim Fouratt at right) holding Christopher Street Liberation Day banner, 1970. Photograph by Diana Davies. NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Diana Davies Papers. Copyright Diana Davies.

The march was organized at the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop by groups like the Gay Liberation Front, Lavender Menace, Gay Activist Alliance and others.  According to Fred Sargeant’s “1970: A First-Person Account of the First Gay Pride March” from “The Village Voice,”

“One year after the Stonewall Riots galvanized New York’s fearful gay men and lesbians into fighters, a handful of us planned our first march. We had no idea how it would turn out. We weren’t even certain we would be granted a permit. And now, here we were, June 28, 1970, with people gathered west of Sixth Avenue at Waverly Place. We wondered if we would be able to get them to move off the curb.”

Read his full fascinating account via The Village Voice HERE

The last weekend in June 1970, also saw Gay rights marches and “Gay-ins” in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago establishing the tradition of “the last Sunday in June” for the gay rights movement for generations to come.

Rare archival footage of the 1970 Gay Rights March

 

Two men (Jim Fouratt at right) holding Christopher Street Liberation Day banner, 1970. Photograph by Diana Davies. NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Diana Davies Papers. Copyright Diana Davies.

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