Placing Pride Flags at Woodlawn Cemetery
By: Amanda Davis
Today the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project continued our Pride Month celebrations by placing pride flags at the graves of LGBT notables at the beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The flags will be there for the month of June, so please be sure and visit! This follows our flagging event at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn yesterday. “Flagging graves of LGBT individuals is a way of both celebrating important individuals and providing recognition of the contributions made by LGBT people to the larger community. Working with Woodlawn Cemetery staff, we placed pride flags at the graves of suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt and Mary Garrett Hay, poet Countee Cullen, playwrights Clyde Fitch and Roi Cooper Mergue, sculptor Malvina Hoffman, illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, photographer George Platt Lynes, literary agent Elisabeth Marbury, vaudeville star Bert Savoy, and lawyer John W. Sterling. We also placed flags next to sculptor Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage, which she made before same-sex marriage was legal and shows her and her wife Deborah Kass in a loving embrace (both are still living).
We’d like to thank Susan Olsen, Woodlawn’s Director of Historical Services, in particular for her assistance with this initiative as well as Woodlawn volunteers who helped find additional LGBT permanent residents who we honored today. Olsen had this to say,
“Although there are many historic figures associated with the LGBT community memorialized at Woodlawn, prejudices and societal views often kept these individuals from openly declaring their relationships and separation from their life partners when they were laid to rest. In recent times attitudes have changed inspiring lot ownership and memorization that commemorates the rights of all.”
Check out our Woodlawn Cemetery site page to learn more about each of the individuals honored today. We’ll also be adding more names to that page as we discover them. If you have suggestions, please let us know!