In our continuing efforts to save 186 Spring Street in the South Village, we’ve highlighted the significant role the building played in the early LGBT rights movement. In the immediate post-Stonewall era, 186 Spring Street was home to an array of critical figures of this era. From this house, they helped establish some of the most important organizations working to advance the cause of equality for the LGBT community. We recently held a press conference to rally support from local elected officials and the community to try and get the Landmarks Preservation recognize this important history. Without proper recognition, we fear that much of the hard work and victories of these LGBT pioneers on the political and cultural landscape may become increasingly easy to forget.
For many young people it is becoming more and more difficult to remember a time homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder and gays and lesbians were denied the most basic rights. Although there is much work to be done, the progress made over the last half-century is remarkable and should not be overlooked.
GVSHP’s website has a page that highlights the LGBT history of our neighborhoods that details the history of significant buildings and sites. Another great visual resource we’ve used in our research and that we wanted to point out today is the New York Public Library’s digital LGBT and HIV/AIDS Activist Collections. You can see all the images in the collection here. It is a remarkable trove of images, may of which feature our neighborhoods as backdrop.
The collections include:
- ACT UP New York records, 1969, 1982-1997 (bulk 1987-1995)
- Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen gay history papers and photographs
- Diana Davies photographs, 1965-1978
- The Emilio Sanchez Private Sketches
- Gran Fury
- International Gay Information Center Collection.
- Mattachine Society, Inc. of New York Records, 1951-1976
- Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers