The late LGBT rights activist Franklin E. Kameny will be honored with a farewell viewing service next month in Washington, D.C., as well as a Smithsonian museum display that opens Friday.
The November 3 service at Carnegie Library will be hosted by groups including the Kameny Papers Project and the Rainbow History Project.
"Dr. Kameny did not leave written instructions on his memorial services, though he did express some of his wishes during his life," Bob Witeck of Witeck-Combs Communications wrote in a Thursday press release. "As friends and all volunteers, we are attempting to honor those wishes as best we can. We urge all of his friends and allies to feel free to honor his memory in your own ways and to try to live up to his aspirations for a truly just and truly equal America."
Information on the farewell viewing service, via Witeck-Combs:
"Gay Is Good"
Paying Our Last Respects to an American Civil Rights Hero Washington, D.C. Thursday, November 3, 2011
Lying-in-State for Dr. Franklin E. Kameny
All are welcome to visit and say goodbye to our fellow citizen, neighbor, friend, advocate, and civil rights champion, Frank Kameny.
This farewell viewing, to be held over several hours on November 3 to allow many friends to visit at their convenience, was made possible through our Mayor, the Honorable Vincent Gray, and with the endorsement of Members of the D.C. Council, as well as many friends and allies of the late Dr. Kameny.
Dr. Franklin E. Kameny Host Committee is led by:
The Kameny Papers Project
Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA)
Gertrude Stein Democratic Club of Washington, D.C.
Helping Our Brothers and Sisters
Rainbow History Project
As well as other groups, in formation.
Thursday, November 3, 2011 between 3 pm and 8 pm ET
Note: This will not be a formal program or a funeral service conducted during this viewing period. However, informal remarks by civic leaders and choral presentations may be made during the 5 hours set aside for viewing (details to come).
The first floor atrium of the historic Carnegie Library Between 7th and 9th Streets N.W. at Mt. Vernon Square Public entrance on K Street N.W.
Important note about the viewing:
This farewell viewing will be held on behalf of the late Dr. Kameny, and it is intended to invite all grieving friends and neighbors to remember and honor his life and his legacy. It is not intended to be a formal memorial service or a funeral ceremony. The plans for a public memorial service at a later date are under consideration and will be announced in the days to come, as well as future plans for his burial. Those details are not yet decided but will be made known.
For public knowledge, Dr. Kameny did not leave written instructions on his memorial services, though he did express some of his wishes during his life. As friends and all volunteers, we are attempting to honor those wishes as best we can. We urge all of his friends and allies to feel free to honor his memory in your own ways and to try to live up to his aspirations for a truly just and truly equal America.
The media is welcome to attend and to cover all or portions of this event, as well as all members of the public who assemble respectfully in Dr. Kameny's loving memory.
Photography is permitted, and all are reminded that this observance is intended for solemn and peaceful reflection. We are not making any plans post-event for other forms of hospitality or refreshment; however, private groups of friends may independently take that initiative.
Many have asked whether Dr. Kameny expressed his wishes for donations in his memory to any worthy causes. To the best of our knowledge, he did not do so - however, in his life, he founded and supported many important LGBT and human rights causes including such organizations as the GLAA, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and Helping Our Brothers and Sisters. He was also a champion for statehood for Washington, D.C. among other priorities.
In that light, your personal contribution, in his memory, to any cause aligned with Dr. Kameny's principles and lifelong battle for equality and justice would be very meaningful. In lieu of flowers or other floral tributes, we again suggest that contributions be made to a civil rights cause or nonprofit organization of your choice, consistent with Dr. Kameny's values.
In addition, during Dr. Kameny's later years, and following his death, the volunteers of Helping Our Brothers and Sisters (www.helpingourbrothersandsisters.org) have been generous and indispensable. HOBS also has proudly promised to ensure that all immediate expenses associated with Dr. Kameny's vigil, funeral and ultimately burial will be covered by tax-deductible contributions made to them by check or online. All individuals who especially wish to support this effort are encouraged to support HOBS in this fashion. Any funds beyond those specifically needed for these expenses will be dedicated to help other LGBT neighbors and friends who are in distress or otherwise marginalized.
The closest Metro station is the Mt Vernon Sq/7th St-Convention Center.
There is no on-site parking at the Carnegie Library/Historical Society. Street Parking: limited street parking is available on 7th Street, K Street, and throughout the neighborhood. Spaces are metered with a two hour maximum. Please note that there are no spaces specifically reserved for handicap parking on the block immediately surrounding the HSW. Garages and Parking Lots: Several garages and parking lots are located within a 2 block walk of the HSW. Parking fees range from $8-$20, depending on the time of day and length of time parked. Located across the street from the HSW, the Renaissance Hotel has a parking garage at 999 Ninth Street, NW.
Information on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's display on Kameny, via the museum:
Artifact Walls, Second Floor Center, Mall Entrance October 21, 2011 through January 16, 2012
Frank Kameny, who died on Oct. 11, was one of those Americans of whom few may have heard but who devoted his life to furthering Civil Rights, most especially for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people. He instigated or participated in many of the important gay rights actions of the 20th century.
This display shows a selection of the protest signs that Kameny and the Kameny Papers Project donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 2006. Three of the most resonant picket signs are now on display in Flag Hall, just off the entrance from the National Mall and near the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, and the Civil Rights era Woolworth Lunch counter.
Another picket sign is currently on view in "The American Presidency" exhibition among a number of protest signs. The Kameny collection is part of the museum's long standing commitment to preserve the history of American democracy and the struggles for individual and civil rights in the United States.
Click here for a recent Advocate op-ed on Frank Kameny by Dr. Katherine Ott, a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.