Even though it’s still a bit over a year away, it’s never too early to start planning your next visit to our nation’s capital. In March 2019, the Newseum, in Washington D.C. will open “Rise Up: Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement,” an exhibit that explores the modern gay rights movement in the United States. The exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of a June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village. The protests that raid ignited are considered to be the catalyst that inspired the modern gay liberation movement and the ongoing fight for LGBTQ civil rights.
“Rise Up” explores what happened at the Stonewall Inn, the myths surrounding it and how it gave rise to a 50-year fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. Over the years, activists have used their First Amendment freedoms — speech, press, assembly and petition — to demand an end to discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in housing, employment and public accommodations.
Through powerful artifacts, images and historic print publications, the exhibit will explore key moments of gay rights history, including the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials; the AIDS crisis; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s public coming out in 1987; the efforts for hate crime legislation; the implementation and later repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; and the fight for marriage equality. “Rise Up” will also look at popular culture’s role in influencing attitudes about the LGBTQ community through film, television and music, and explore how the gay rights movement harnessed the power of public protest and demonstration to change laws and shatter stereotypes.
Beginning later this year and running throughout 2019, a series of programs will focus on the rise of the gay press, and how the news media helped and hurt the gay rights movement. Other topics will include pop culture and the gay rights movement, religious liberty and LGBT rights, and the future of LGBT rights.
“Rise Up” is being made possible by the generous support of a native Washingtonian and First Amendment advocate. The exhibit will open in March 2019, and will be on display through September 2019.