Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts Stonewall the LGBTQ Rights Movement  CSPAN  May 12, 2019 10:00pm-10:25pm EDT

10:00 pm
can or cannot say. when you look at the bigger speake, huawei, we don't through the china government and they don't speak for us. >> watch "the communicators," on east been -- on c-span three, 8 p.m. eastern. >> this week, "american artifacts" takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around the country. we visit the rise up museum -- rise up exhibit at the newseum here washington, d.c. to learn about the 1969 stonewall riots and how they served as a catalyst for the modern lgbtq rights movement. >> welcome to the newseum. i am the vice president of exhibit and content here. you are here at the prologue of our new exhibit, rise up, stonewall and the lgbtq rights movement. stonewall was a gay bar in new york city that propelled forward the modern lgbtq rights movement. we tell the story of how americans used the first
10:01 pm
amendment freedoms -- speech, press, petition, assembly, religion to advocate for change. , you walk into this corner into the prologue area and look at the artifacts from two of the earliest lgbtq rights organizations that rose up in the 1950's and 1960's, the -- gay americans lived in fear and secrecy. gay people could be arrested for showing affection in public. police prowled parks to arrest gay people. it was difficult to be a gay american. but this is when you see a rise of the few early and to be to social groups such as the daughters of bilitis. when people are meeting secretly in their homes to talk about what it is like to be a gay man or lesbian woman, to socialize and have fun.
10:02 pm
but out of these groups rose movements for justice. they decided they wanted acceptance. here you see some artifacts from the mattachine society, a matchbook that would be passed on to people in public places, people they thought were like-minded, of secret way to say, are you gay, i am, too, let's talk about it. this was a book that was published for gay people arrested by police advising them on what their rights were when being arrested by police. these are early public -- pioneering publications such as the mattachine review, and "one." case,e -- won a famous ruledhe supreme court
10:03 pm
that they were able to distribute that magazine. next we go to the main gallery of the exhibits. right now we are in an area right before the main gallery of "rise up." we decided popular culture was a good place to start. popular culture played such an important role in shaping attitudes. early in 1961, the first images that you see of homosexuals, because that is what the people were called back then, was in a pbs documentary that aired in san francisco called "the rejected." it talked about homosexuality as an issue, as a problem. gradually you see more lgbtq people being represented in sports, television and movies. here is one tennis players racket, she was a incredible athlete and champion who comes out as being gay. rock hudson, a famous hollywood celebrity, who reveals that he is dying of aids. a huge earthquake in popular culture and in the energy to key
10:04 pm
-- lgbtq rights movement. you saw in philadelphia, tom hanks portrays a man with aids. we have a script signed by the cast members. then you have ellen degeneres. of came out on the cover time magazine and the repercussions. her show was canceled. she received death threats. that moment was seen as a powerful moment in lgbtq rights. here you have "will and grace." president biden spoke about the show "will and grace" as doing more to get more americans used to the idea of same-sex marriage than anything else because they invited gay people to their living rooms, in places where people thought they might don't know about gay people in their lives. we have films like "brokeback mountain," "modern family," a
10:05 pm
hugely popular sitcom, then, caitlyn jenner coming out on the cover of "vanity fair" as a transgender woman. these were moments that brought popular understanding to the issues that lgbtq society was facing. we will walk into the gallery and see what happened in the stonewall inn 50 years ago. we go back to a hot summer night in june of 1969 to greenwich village in new york city and stonewall inn. stonewall inn was not a particularly a nice bar, the drinks were watered down. it was run by the mafia. but it was a place where gay people could come and have fun. back then, it is illegal for gay people to socialize or see affection in public. at the stonewall, they could actually dance together. the stonewall inn preyed on the gay wall street workers who socialize there. there was a blackmail ring going
10:06 pm
on there. not the nicest place, but it was a place that the people could call their own. there was a police crackdown on such establishments going on, and when police came in, they were a bit rough with one lesbian, and they threw her out on the streets. and the crowd went wild. this is a pent-up feeling by people at the stonewall inn. police had been harassing gay people for a long time, arresting them for showing affection. at this time, we had all kinds of movements, counterculture, sexual revolution happening, and people were just not going to take it anymore, they were done with not being accepted for being gay, they were fed up. so this starts six nights of on and off uprising, glassblowing, brick-throwing, interactions with police. from the moment springs forth what we call the modern lgbtq movement. you see here a headline from the
10:07 pm
mainstream media. you can see how dismissive mainstream publications were of gay people. the headline is "homo nest raided. queen bees are stinging mad." really insulting, really do migratory. -- really derogatory. some publications did not even cover it. in this case, we have a historic collections from the museum's collection of how the gay rights movement was covered. we have the advocate, based in l.a.. you have "the ladder" a lesbian publication based in los angeles. it reported on an uprising in a bar in california. then we have "time magazine" a few months after stonewall, has
10:08 pm
a cover in which they are saying, never before have homosexuals in at the forefront of conversations or what was going on in the united states today. so out of this moment springs forth the modern lgbtq rights movement. we organized to the exhibit not chronologically, but so much as within themes. the next theme is fighting for the right to work and to serve. we come to the story of a harvard educated phd and government employee who was fired from his job because of an arrest for solicitation. solicitation was a charge that was used against gay people. often times, they wouldn't fight back because of the repercussions of fighting back for such a crime. you could lose your job for being gay. your neighbors would distance themselves from you. if you had a family, you could lose your children. to be gay was to live a life of fear and secrecy in the 1950's and 1960's. frank kameny decided he was going to fight back against the
10:09 pm
government rule against gay people. president eisenhower actually signed a law into effect saying that homosexuals could not be hired by the federal government. frank believed homosexuals deserve the right to work in federal government and anywhere else. so he organized a series of protests as early as 1965 where gay people would picket in front of the white house and civil service commission going public with signs like this -- america, the land of opportunity for homosexuals too. quarter million civil service employees protest. the civil service is the organization that controls who gets hired by the federal government. he is a figure who is considered the father of the lgbtq rights movement, and his story pops up throughout the exhibit. we will go around the corner and talk about a woman named barbara giddings, who took it upon herself to fight back against
10:10 pm
the american psychiatric organization, which at this point had deemed homosexuality and illness. barbara giddings was a college student in 1949 when she was diagnosed as being homosexual. she did research about what that meant and found out that homosexual people were frequently institutionalized, had electroshock treatment and various other horrible things. she thought there was something very wrong about that. so she took on the american psychiatric association. in 1972, she appeared at their convention in dallas, texas and spoke on a panel with a gay psychiatrist who was so fearful of the repercussions of coming out and making publicly as a gay person that he wore a mask. barbara had an information booth, you can see the sign, that gave positive images of what the people were all about. a year later, the american psychiatric association took away the designation of homosexuality as a mental illness. frank kameny, who we heard from before, sent a letter to his friend saying, it is a miracle, we have been cured.
10:11 pm
next, we'll talk about harvey milk, one of the pioneering lgbt people to be elected to office in the united states. harvey milk was elected to the san francisco board of supervisors in 1977. he proceeded to get various laws passed increasing rents for lgbtq citizens and surf for about a year before he was assassinated by a former police man and former commissioner himself. in this case, you can see an envelope that was found in milk's jacket and the bullet holes that were left in the card that he had written to someone. the light sentence of the person who shot harvey milk received, that resulted in the white night riots, when people were just coming forth with fury and
10:12 pm
frustration at the lack of attention of this pionerring figure in the lgbtq community. in this case, we have added tammy baldwin -- a pioneering person. she was the first gay woman elected to congress. this was what she wore when she was elected. here we have a magazine featuring barney frank on it. he served three terms as congressman of massachusetts before he came out as being gay. the citizens of massachusetts elected him several more times and after he left office, he married his longtime partner. this is a button that they handed out at their wedding. we will walk around the corner and explore the story of lgbtq activists fighting for the right to serve in their military. in 1974, this was a sergeant in the air force. he was a decorated vietnam war veteran who had served three tours of duty and had a bronze star. he decided to challenge the
10:13 pm
military ban on gay people serving. working with frank kameny, the father of the lgbtq rights movement, he decided to push back against the air force. the air force discharged him and offered a settlement instead of offering to change its policy. but you see this person's brave stance, going on the cover of "time" magazine in 1975 saying, "i am a homosexual." the first gay person to appear on time magazine. these stories start to chip away at attitudes that prevented gay people from serving in the military. in this case, you can see news coverage of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, the policy of the clinton administration that allowed people to serve in a military as long as they were quiet about who they were and what their sexual orientation was. here you see the gavel that nancy pelosi used to announce the repeal of don't ask, don't tell in 2010. out of stonewall comes protests.
10:14 pm
they were called zaps because they were provocative, designed to get press coverage and attention to what the activists were fighting for. you have groups like the gay raiders out of philadelphia who got themselves into the cbs evening news with walter cronkite, had a protest, and this appeared as americans watched their evening newscast. the protesters said that cronkite took time after the newscast to talk to them and it changed the way cbs covered the gay movement at the time. you saw the rise of these incredible publications. various groups and nationalities when they feel their stories are not being told by the mainstream press, they would start their own newspapers and magazines. here you see gay activist and many publications rose up -- here you see "the gay activist" and other publications that rose up.
10:15 pm
gilbert baker called himself the gay betsy ross when he was encouraged to come up with a flag that symbolized movement. you will notice it has two more stripes than has now. the reason is because two of the colors were harder to produce. the flag was made by gilbert. this was the sewing machine on which he created the original flag. it is not the original, but it is one of the flags with that template. next, we will talk about the aids crisis and how it activated and mobilized lgbtq activists. in every movement, you see signs of progress and then push back. after this incredible spirit of openness, gay people being public about their sexuality, who they were, their sexual orientation, protesting, on the heels of that comes the aids crisis. in the early 1980's, stories
10:16 pm
about aids, this mysterious illness that was striking gay men in los angeles and new york, comes to the forefront in gay publications first. quickly, the mainstream press catches up. the early headlines, because nobody knows what causes aids, they are more fear mongering than anything else, at least in the lgbtq community being further ostracized. here are two journalists who were part of the mainstream press. in the 1980's, wasn't particularly welcoming to be on the staff of a major newspaper. both of these journalists reported about the aids crisis and both of them succumbed to aids as well. it was not until 1992 that drugs were found that actually made aids not a death sentence, but a disease that people could live with. here you saw again gay activists using zaps, a very provocative protest. you see the tie-ins that took place at the st. patrick's cathedral in new york.
10:17 pm
there were protests outside of the f.d.a. where they advocated for drugs to come up quicker, for more research by the government and for more research into aids. the gay community was providing meals, support, information about drug trials, organizations like act up and others that were really advocating for people with ace of the community as a whole. more than 362,000 americans died of aids before treatment became more widespread in the 1990s. to illustrate that story, we have a section on the aids quilt. the aids quilt project laid patches of a crowd here in washington, d.c. this is evidence that while aids is now a treatable disease, the crisis was not over. this is a piece of the quilt that tells a story of a transgender woman in atlanta who died in 2016. her name was cheryl courtney evans. next, we go to a section that
10:18 pm
talks about the battle for same-sex marriage and the role that faith and religion played in that. some faith communities welcomed members of the gay community but not all. in 1977, dade county, florida joined about a dozen others in passing legislation aims to prevent discrimination against gay people in housing and other areas. anita bryant was a christian singer and a spokesman for the florida orange juice industry. she thought this law would end up having children corrupted by the gay community, so she fought back against it with her "save the children" campaign. here again, you see the creativity of lgbtq activist who fought back against her. you see an album that was put out by a lesbian record label called "lesbian concentrate." and there were a variety of songs pushing back against anita
10:19 pm
bryant and oranges. bar test -- bartenders stop selling screwdrivers, which are orange juices with vodka. orange juice sales plummeted as a result. bartenders started serving a drink called the anita bryant, which is apple juice and vodka instead. so you see the lgbtq community rising up against people trying to he wrote their rights. then you see reverend jerry falwell, billy graham, powerful evangelical leaders who were blaming gay people for the aids crisis. again, a setback for the community because these powerful spokesmen of faith were pushing back against the community and their essential rights. next, we will come to the section about the historic ruling that led to same sex marriage being made legal across the country. the first amendment gives every american the power to petition the government for change. if there are policies or laws or things that are happening that
10:20 pm
they don't like. that is evidenced throughout the exhibit. jim obergefell had been planning to marry his longtime partner but in their home state of ohio, it was illegal for two men to marry. mr. arthur was dying of a neurological disease at the time. he died a few months later. listedwanted him to be as a surviving spouse on his death certificate. he joined 14 other couples in a supreme court case in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country. you can see the jacket and bowtie he wore on his wedding day and on announcement day. and the fused wedding rings, his and john arthur's. he had them fused together with some of his ashes after he died. these are the first artifacts that we got on loan for this exhibit and it is a really powerful statement because at
10:21 pm
its essence, this exhibit is about, who you love and who you have the right to love. so this is a powerful exhibit that tells a story of how everyday americans petitioned the government for change using their first amendment freedoms. the struggle for same-sex marriage was a long process. here in 1953, the pioneering lgbt publication "one" puts it on the cover, "homosexual marriage?". of course it wasn't decades later but the same-sex ruling in 2015 made marriage legal in the country. there were many players that played a role at chipping away at attitudes that prevented same-sex marriage. this was one of best this was one of those people. edith windsor. when her partner died, she was stock -- she was stuck with a large tax bill and she decided to challenge the i.r.s. saying
10:22 pm
that she was being denied the same rights that heterosexual couples had. years later, the supreme court decided in her favor. this is a copy of the check should got from the i.r.s. for back payment for those inheritance taxes she had paid and with interest. that is always a favorite artifact for people to see especially around tax time here. here are posters that were used by protesters who were heralding the supreme court decision that edith windsor took part in. on the wall, you see iconic figures, who 50 years ago would never have been open about their sexual orientation, they are sexuality. -- "oncehis wall rejected, now embraced," because now you see all these people who are politicians, activists, actors, journalists, people who are admired from would be are and what they do.
10:23 pm
here at the museum, our mission is to promote understanding of the importance of the free press and the first amendment. we hope more people come to visit the exhibit because the events at stonewall and rise up, stonewall and lgbtq rights movement tells the story of how everyday americans, first -- used their first amendment right of the press, speech, religion, to rise up, push back and advocate for change, and that is what we are about here at the newseum. explaining to people the story of the first amendment. this movement embodies something about the first amendment. we hope people will come to experience it as well as the movies and other interactions and many more of the other stories we tell at the exhibit. announcer: you can watch this and every american artifact program any time by visiting our
10:24 pm
website, announcer: we continue to look at palo alto as we hear about its contributions to rock 'n roll and pop culture. >> we are on parry avenue, an unincorporated section surrounded by menlo park. it was affectionately known as perry lane. it was an enclave of stanford graduate students which included the married ken kesey, who came in 1958 to take creative writing classes. he found he could make $75 going to the menlo park veterans affairs and became part of the drug testing conducted covertly by the c.i.a.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on