Looking Back at Stonewall

The upcoming theme for Boston Pride is “Looking Back, Loving Forward.” In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the theme points to how far the fight for LBGTQ+ rights has come. The theme also highlights the importance of the Stonewall Riots (also sometimes called the Stonewall Uprising or the Stonewall Rebellion) as one of the catalysts of the gay liberation movement. The gay civil rights movement of the early 1970's helped provide a foundation for modern LGBTQ+ rights efforts. Early activists paved the way for the efforts toward full civil rights that are ongoing. 

Perhaps you're interested in learning more about this part of U.S. history. Or maybe as a modern activist, you're interested in learning more about the roots of the LGBT rights movement. The Boston Public Library has a number of events happening during Pride month that focus on Stonewall including:

If you can't join us at an event, reading firsthand accounts such as those found in The Stonewall Reader and the photographic documentary Love and Resistance can give you a particularly vivid account. Poetry written in the Stonewall era can also give you a window into the spirit of the time.  These LGBTQ+ poets wrote in the aftermath of Stonewall, as the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement was just beginning. While not explicitly about Stonewall, the poets address many of the themes and concerns of the young gay rights movement.

LGBT poetry of the Stonewall era

Diving Into the Wreck

The Fall of America


The Judy Grahn Reader

Directed by Desire

Movement in Black

Golden State

Ask a librarian for more ideas for learning about this powerful moment in U.S. history. Happy learning and happy pride!