FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alison Zemanski Heis, National Parks Conservation Association
p: (202) 384-8762 / e: [email protected]
Ken Lustbader, NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
p: (917) 848-1776 / e: [email protected]
New Historic Walking Tour at
Stonewall National Monument Launches Today,
Connects LGBT History
New York, NY – Today, park and preservation advocates, along with elected officials including Congressman Jerrold Nadler and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, launched the first walking tour dedicated to telling the history of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The tour connects the public with nearly 20 historic sites significant to the LGBT community, anchored by and surrounding the Stonewall National Monument in New York’s Greenwich Village. Collectively these sites contribute to the story of the LGBT civil rights’ struggle and the events and social changes that eventually led to the Stonewall uprising and its impact.
National Parks Conservation Association, a leading group behind the campaign to help create the national park site, and experts from the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project will debut the new self-guided walking tour with a presentation at Stonewall National Monument, including the release of the new user-friendly map that is available to the public starting today.
“The LGBT historic sites along this walking tour are unknown to many, but hopefully not for long,” said Cortney Worrall, Northeast senior regional director for National Parks Conservation Association. “Stonewall isn’t just a building. It’s the birthplace of an important movement. And the supporting role the surrounding neighborhood played in this movement can only fully be understood by walking the streets and reliving how the uprising unfolded. This is how we remember our painful past, and what keeps our country from repeating it. There’s no better people to learn this from than the best storytellers America has to offer – our National Park Rangers.”
Highlights along the tour include Julius’ Bar, site of the 1966 “Sip-In” by the Mattachine Society, an early LGBT rights group, which brought attention to the State Liquor Authority’s discriminatory policy of revoking the license of bars that served gay men and lesbians; the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, established by gay rights activist Craig Rodwell as America’s first gay and lesbian bookstore in 1967; the Snake Pit, a basement bar that, less than a year after Stonewall, was the site of a police raid that resulted in protests by the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance, which demonstrated the strength of these recently formed organizations and inspired more people to become politically active in the fight for LGBT equality.
“Our mission is to make the invisible history of New York City’s LGBT community, which can be felt throughout the city but particularly here in Greenwich Village, a visible and better understood facet of our city’s historical fabric,” said Jay Shockley, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, the nonprofit group responsible for the historical research to inform the new tour anchored by Stonewall National Monument.
The Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 uprising, is considered the birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. In response to police raids against the LGBT community in the summer of 1969, demonstrations over a six-day period took place in the streets surrounding the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park. The Stonewall events, considered some of the most important of the LGBT civil rights movement, at Stonewall forever changed history, and are considered some of the most important events of the LGBT civil rights movement. These demonstrations helped set the stage for the progress that has since been made on LGBT liberation and equality, and the larger push for human rights and civil rights in the United States. After a years-long campaign to honor this story, Stonewall National Monument became our country’s first national park site dedicated to LGBT history in June of 2016.
“Thanks to the efforts of the National Parks Conservation Association and the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, visitors to the Stonewall National Monument will be able to discover some of the rich history of the area that led to the uprising, and set off a global movement,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “The history of the LGBT community and its struggle for civil rights is an important part of American history, and I am proud to have helped lead the effort to have the site of the Stonewall Uprising designated as a national monument.”
“Stonewall remains the town square for the LGBT community – a living, breathing national treasure,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “As a gay elected official and a dad, I hope the new historic walking tour provides greater insight for visitors to the monument and reminds future generations of the inspiring historic events that advanced human rights here in Greenwich Village and around the world. In Albany, I’m proud to have played a role in making the Stonewall National Monument possible and I’m honored to take part in this inaugural tour today.”
“After the designation of the Stonewall National Monument, I am so pleased to see the beginnings of programmatic planning for the park and surrounding LGBT historical community get under way,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “Developing a plan for the park with many educational opportunities will tell the stories of the LBGT pioneers who made Greenwich Village a bastion for civil rights change, and show young people the long history of the continuing march toward equality.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. Founded in 2015, the Project is a nonprofit cultural initiative and educational resource that is making an invisible history visible by documenting historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBT community throughout New York City. For more, visit www.nyclgbtsites.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.