Virtual Fence Exhibit

The photographs below are displayed on the fence around Stonewall National Monument and they visually tell the story of the LGBTQ rights movement.

If you are at the park, the descriptions below help tell the story but these photographs and descriptions can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter where you are! For even more information, check out the history of Stonewall.

 
Bartender at Julius's Bar refusing drinks to four men in suits in a crowded bar
Mattachine Society 'Sip-In,' 1966

After pouring their drinks, a bartender in Julius's Bar refuses to serve John Timmins, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell, and Randy Wicker, all members of the Mattachine Society, an early American gay rights group, because they announced they were gay to protest New York’s liquor laws that prevented serving gay customers. New York, New York, April 21, 1966.

Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

 
A crowd of people being pushed by the police and the crowd pushing back against the police
Stonewall Inn Nightclub Raid Crowd Attempts to Impede Police, 1969

During the Stonewall Inn nightclub raid the crowd attempts to impede police arrests outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. The Stonewall Inn was frequently raided by police but this time it was different. The crowd outside began to push back against the police oppression. Many homeless LGBTQ youth who slept in Christopher Park joined in.

Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

 
View of a damaged jukebox, cigarette machine, broken chair, and trash can inside of the Stonewall Inn
Inside the Stonewall Inn After Riots, 1969

View of a damaged jukebox and cigarette machine, along with a broken chair, inside the Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) after riots over the weekend of June 27, 1969. The crowd’s aggression outside of the Stonewall Inn forced the outnumbered police officers to retreat and barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn.

Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

 
A group of young people celebrate outside the boarded-up Stonewall Inn
Stonewall Celebrations, 1969

An unidentified group of young people celebrate outside the boarded-up Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) after riots over the weekend of June 27, 1969. The bar and surrounding area were the site of a series of demonstrations and riots that led to the formation of the modern gay LGBTQ rights movement in the United States.

Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

 
Hand-painted text on a boarded up window of the Stonewall Inn, text reads 'We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village - Mattachine'
Graffiti on Boarded-Up Stonewall Inn Window, 1969

Hand-painted text on a boarded-up window of the Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) after riots over the weekend of June 27, 1969. The text reads 'We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village - Mattachine.' The Mattachine Society was an early American gay rights organization that existed in New York City before the Stonewall Uprisings.

Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

 
Marsha P. Johnson handing out flyers with NYC students in the background
Marsha P. Johnson Hands Out Flyers in Support of Gay Students at N.Y.U., 1970

Marsha P. Johnson hands out flyers in support of gay students at New York University while another person holds a sign reading ‘Come out of your ivory towers into the street.’ Marsha was a founding member of Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Sylvia Rivera.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Sylvia Rivera at age 18 laying back and posing on the edge of a water fountain
Sylvia Rivera at Age 18 in New York City, 1969

Sylvia Rivera laying back and posing on the edge of a water fountain. At a young age Sylvia began fighting for gay and transgender rights while also helping homeless young drag queens, like herself, gay youth, and trans people. She was a co-founded of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson.

Photo by Kay Tobin / New York Public Library

 
Mark Segal holding a sign that read 'Gay Power' at a Nixon fundraiser
Mark Segal Crashes a Nixon Fundraiser, 1972

Mark Segal, founder of a radical gay activism group known as Gay Raiders, holds a sign that reads “GAY POWER” while crashing a Nixon Fundraiser to gain attention and to increase the visibility of gay people. This sort of public disruption was common for Segal who also crashed a CBS primetime news show that was watched by 60 million people in 1973 with a sign that read “Gays protest CBS prejudice.”

Mark Segal / LGBT History Project

 
Frank Kameny, Randy Wicker, and Jim Owles standing and talking to each other at Gay Liberation Conference, 1971
Frank Kameny, Randy Wicker, and Jim Owles at Gay Liberation Conference, 1971

Frank Kameny, Randy Wicker, and Jim Owles attended the Rutgers Student Homophile League (SHL) sponsored Gay Liberation Conference that took place on the ground floor of the Rutgers Student Center. The SLH was the second known gay student campus organization to be formed. They were assisted by the first student organization at Columbia University, which had been organized before the Stonewall Uprising.

Photo by Kay Tobin / New York Public Library

 
Zazu Nova sitting on top of a table
Zazu Nova at a Gay Liberation Front Meeting, 1970

Zazu Nova, a black transgender woman, sits on top of a table at a Gay Liberation Front meeting in 1970. Zazu was identified by many eyewitnesses as the person who may have thrown the legendary “first brick” at the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969. She was a sex worker on the streets of Greenwich Village and went by “Queen of Sex.” She also was a founding member of New York Gay Youth organization to help support the gay youth of New York.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Gay Liberation Front Marches on Times Square with banner that reads 'Gay Liberation Front'
Gay Liberation Front Marches on Times Square, New York City, 1969

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) marches on times square with a banner reading ‘Gay Liberation Front.’ The GLF was a more radical gay rights activism group that seceded from the Mattachine Society. They openly marched on Times Square shortly after the Stonewall Uprising.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Many people sitting in chairs and on the floor with a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) sign in the foreground
Gay Liberation Front Meeting at Washington Square Methodist Church, New York, 1970

Many people sitting in chairs and on the floor with a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) sign in the foreground. GLF published their own newspaper, Come Out!, and became a springboard for many new semi-autonomous gay and lesbian groups that helped move the political movement for gay rights forward.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
People protesting with signs reading 'Time Inc. I am a human being'
Gay Liberation Front Picketing at the Time-Life Building, 1969

People standing on the sidewalk holding signs that read “Time Inc. I am a human being” and “Time Inc. don’t dictate morality.” While Gay Liberation Front (GLF) fought for gay rights, they also criticized the common notion of marriage, between a man and a woman, and the traditional notion of family. They fought against the idea that gay people were classified as morally and medically ‘defective.’

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Gay Liberation Front (GFL) members Judy Cartisano and Stephanie Myers holding a sign that reads ‘Sappho was a right-on woman” at a gay pride demonstration
Gay Liberation Front Members Judy Cartisano and Stephanie Myers at a Gay Pride Demonstration, 1970

Gay Liberation Front (GFL) members Judy Cartisano and Stephanie Myers holding a sign that reads ‘Sappho was a right-on woman” at a gay pride demonstration. Sappho, the poetess of Ancient Greece lived on the island of Lesbo, where the word ‘lesbian’ comes from, about 600 BCE and wrote about the love of women for women. GLF member Sue Schneider wrote a poem called “Sappho was a right-on woman.”

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Martha Shelly, Fran Winant and Judy Reif of Lavender Menace at the Second Congress to Unite Women
Martha Shelly, Fran Winant and Judy Reif of Lavender Menace at the Second Congress to Unite Women, 1970

Three lesbians wearing ‘Lavender Menace’ shirts. The National Organization of Women President referred to lesbians as the “lavender menace,” for fear that lesbians would hinder the reputation of the women’s rights movement. To protest their exclusion, a group of lesbians wore ‘Lavender Menace' shirts to the NOW's Second Congress to Unite Women. This lead to NOW's support of lesbians in 1971.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Men Holding a sign reading 'Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day 1970'
Men Holding Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day 1970 Banner, 1970

Men holding ‘Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day 1970’ banner while walking down the middle of the street in NYC. To mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising the previous year, gay activists organized a march from Washington Place to Central Park on June 28, 1970. They were not sure if they would even reach Central Park but as more people joined the march it received a lot of media coverage and attention.

Photo by Diana Davies / new York Public Library

 
Two men holding hands and smiling while marching in the Christopher Street Liberation Day march on June 28, 1970
Gay People March for Rights, 1970.

Two men holding hands and smiling while marching in the Christopher Street Liberation Day march on June 28, 1970. Many people that participated in this first march had worried about police intervention and other possible threats for openly fighting for gay rights. It took courage for LGBTQ people to engage in public displays of affection for fear of being arrested or beat. The march was successful and helped raise awareness and visibility for gay rights.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
Thousands of people sitting in the park with signs read “lesbians unite,” “gay pride,” and “New York Mattachine.”
Gay ‘Be-In” at Sheep Meadow, Central Park, 1970

Thousands of people sitting in the park with signs read “lesbians unite,” “gay pride,” and “New York Mattachine.” The Christopher Street Liberation Day march ended with the “Be-In” event at Sheep Meadow in Central Park. The march and “Be-In” attracted thousands of people and successfully unified many gay rights activist groups and supporters to all embrace the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, making it's place in history solidified.

Photo by Diana Davies / New York Public Library

 
People gathered around a plaque that reads "Stonewall National Monument"
Stonewall National Monument is Established June 24, 2016

Stonewall National Monument (the monument) is a 7.7-acre site in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City established by presidential proclamation in 2016. The monument encompasses both public and private property, including the privately owned Stonewall Inn, portions of the New York City street network, and 0.12-acre Christopher Park, which was donated to the federal government by the City of New York.

Department of the Interior

 
Viewed from Christopher Park’s central location, this historic landscape—the park itself, the Stonewall Inn, the streets and sidewalks of the surrounding neighborhood—reveals the story of the Stonewall uprising, a watershed moment for LGBTQ rights and a transformative event in the nation’s civil rights movement. It was not the first time members of the LGBTQ community organized in their own interest. Yet, the movement to commemorate Stonewall on the first anniversary of the event inspired the largest and most successful collective protest for LGBTQ rights the nation had ever seen.

As one of the only public open spaces serving Greenwich Village west of 6th Avenue, Christopher Park has long been central to the life of the neighborhood and to its identity as an LGBTQ-friendly community. The park was created in 1837 after a large fire in 1835 devastated an overcrowded tenement on the site. By the 1960s, Christopher Park was a destination for LGBTQ youth, many of whom had run away from or been kicked out of their homes. Christopher Park served as a gathering place, refuge, and platform to voice demands for LGBTQ civil rights. Christopher Park continues to be an important place for the LGBTQ community to assemble for marches and parades, including the annual NYC Pride; expressions of grief and anger; and celebrations of victory and joy.

Last updated: May 31, 2021

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Federal Hall National Monument c/o Stonewall National Monument

New York, NY 10005

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