Philadelphia will celebrate 50 years of LGBT civil rights activism this summer with an exhibit at the National Constitution Center and citywide anniversary events.
A huge rainbow banner laid across the lawn of the National Constitution Center today to mark the announcement.
The exhibit, "Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, gay rights and the Supreme Court will run from June 5 through September 7 and coincide with Gay Pride month in June.
The six-part exhibit will include testimonials and items from public demonstrations called Annual Reminder protests that took place in Philadelphia from 1965 to 1969 in front of Independence Hall.
The protests " would become the first sustained national effort to focus attention on the discrimination faced by gay people and became a catalyst for LGBT Americans to organize for equality," said Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center which is partnering with the museum on the exhibit.
A series of anniversary events will take place at the African American Museum, the Free Library, the Historical Society, Independence Visitor Center and the National Museum of American Jewish History. A reenactment of the original Annual Reminder demonstrations will take place in front of Independence Hall on July 4 and a block party will be held Sunday July 5 in the Gayborhood.
"When you consider Philadelphia's role in the LGBT Civil Rights movement it seems only right that our city, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection …will host one of the largest LGBT rights anniversary celebrations in our nation on the Fourth of July," Mayor Nutter said at the news conference.
Nutter also noted this is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. He took the speaking opportunity to encourage citizens to vote.
"People walked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery for the right to vote – folks need to take five minutes to walk to a polling place near their house and vote," he said. "We dishonor the memory we do a disservice to those who were beaten, those who suffered, some who died, when we don't go out and vote."