New York Public Library Goes Gay

If a picture is really worth a thousand words, the New York Public Library's powerful exhibit, "1969: The Year of Gay Liberation," is the essence of our history as LGBT Americans, condensed into indelible words and images.

BY Michael Rowe

June 16 2009 12:00 AM ET

NEW YORK Public Library 1969: The Year of Gay Liberation 02 X555 (DIANA DAVIES) | ADVOCATE.COM

The LGBT collection at the NYPL is among the most impressive and comprehensive in the country. It includes the archives and papers of pioneering LGBT activists, scholars, and authors including Martin Duberman, W.H. Auden, Virginia Woolf, and Joseph Beam, as well as archival holdings that encompass the history of the AIDS crisis, LGBT theater, and the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive.

For LGBT travelers to New York, the free exhibit offers another dimension to a Pride Month filled with riotous celebration of who we have become as a community. It offers a chance for a quieter contemplation of who we were and where we have come from, in the city where it all began. If owning the past is an essential step to claiming our own future as a people, then "1969: The Year of Gay Liberation" is an important mile marker on that road.

The exhibit runs June 1-30 in the Stokes Gallery (3rd floor) of the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. For more information visit www.nypl.org .

Tags: Art

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