On Saturday, June 29, 2013, board members and supporters of Fort Lauderdale’s National Stonewall Museum and Archives joined its executive director David Jobin in New York City at the historic Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village to present a plaque honoring the bar as the location of the June, 1969 riots that constituted a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement.
Jobin talked about the significance of the Stonewall Inn and how the Stonewall National Museum and Archives draws upon its place in the history of gay rights in continuing the quest for equality and justice through visibility and recorded history.
“Here in this room, we feel the presence of men and women whose actions were so powerful in the history of the LGBT community,” he said. “We are honoring them with this commemorative plaque, letting them know how much we appreciate all they did.”
He presented the plaque to Fred “Tree” Folk, a Stonewall veteran (a member of the group present at the riots of 1969) who is now a bartender at Stonewall Inn. Jobin reported that in the course of their conversation, Folk pledged to donate his personal mementos to the museum.
Stonewall board member Gregory Stephens also spoke at the ceremony.
“Giving this historic designation to Stonewall Inn and standing in this place today is momentous and personally moving. When I was asked to come onto the board, I reflected on why we need this museum,” he said. “I made the decision to do this knowing the importance of the LGBT struggle to be considered ‘normal’—not that we ever thought there was anything wrong with us. Given the events of this week—the overthrow of DOMA—we have taken huge steps to becoming legitimized as part of ‘normal’ society. What happened on this spot in 1969 was a huge step and we have so many more to go.”
The inscription on the plaque is “STONEWALL INN, Greenwich Village, site of the 1969 uprising by the LGBT community and the beginning of the movement to establish LGBT equal rights. THIS BUILDING HAS BEEN DESIGNATED A HISTORIC LGBT LANDMARK by Stonewall National Museum and Archives”
Jobin, Stephens and other board members and friends of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives were cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of thousands when they assembled the following day and took part in the NYC Pride March down New York City’s 5th Avenue ending on Christopher Street at the Stonewall Inn.
Stonewall National Museum and Archives, located in Fort Lauderdale, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by touring the country with special exhibits and events.
Visit StoneWallNationalMuseum.org for more information. Tony Adams